The tree in the forest

“I don’t understand.”

What is “academic writing”? Does it mean that the writing should be on particularly “academic” subjects? Or that the writing should necessarily be more formal?

Recently, linguist Steven Pinker (you can watch his TED Talks about language, human nature, and more here) wrote an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about how much of academic writing these days is poorly written — meaning that it’s incomprehensible to its readers.

“In writing badly, we are wasting each other’s time…”

If you’re writing something (or giving a presentation) that your readers (or audience) doesn’t understand, then what’s the point, right?

gifs from:

The research community has responded by tweeting explanations of their research using emoji. Here’s the story, and an example:

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 8.25.31 AM

A few months ago, I posted about using emoji to summarize stories. Like this quiz: Can you tell which Disney story it is by the emoji summary?

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 8.18.24 AM

Just make sure that, if you do use visuals (emoji or otherwise), that your readers/audience understand what they mean to you:

So just remember that old thought experiment:

If a tree falls in a forest with no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?

↓   ↓   ↓   ↓   ↓   

If you give a presentation or write a paper that no one understands, have you really done anything?





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