The other day, I was checking my email when I came across a suspicious looking message. It began with the line, “Dear Sir/Madam”.
The first paragraph read,
Please pardon me if I intrude into your privacy, and may I humbly solicit your confidence in this transaction. I came to know about you in my private search for a reliable and reputable foreigner to handle this confidential transaction.
Wow, that writing sounds like something straight out of a Dickens novel. I quickly clicked delete, suspecting that this was a phishing scam.
You’ve probably received emails like this too. And maybe you’ve also chuckled at their standoffish, overly formal tone. It seems to be a trademark of these types of spam emails.
However, not too long ago, no one would have laughed at that style of writing. It’s the style most people would have used if they wanted to come across as polite and professional.
In fact, your English teacher probably taught you a similar academic style when you were in school. Flowery language. Long paragraphs. Precise grammar. No contractions.
And then came the Internet. Over time, everyone from bloggers to big corporations realized that a conversational style of writing is a much more powerful way to engage and connect with your audience. [Read more…]