Saturday, July 29, 2006

Blogger Q&A No.17 Mark Remy

Mark Remy of Office Pirates comments on language and a whole bunch of other things. It's hard to describe just what Office Pirates is but check it out. There's usually a wacky headline or commentary on the language of signs to catch the eye of an editor.

This concludes, for now, the series of blogger interviews.

Q. When did you start blogging?

A. Office Pirates has been up and running just since February 22. In Internet time, I guess that makes us babies. Or does it make us old and infirm? I can never remember. Either way, we have a full diaper.

Q. What's your purpose or motivation to blogging? What do you hope to

A. OFFICIAL, B.S. ANSWER: To tap into a community on the web of like-minded young people who despair that they'll always be toiling in a cubicle for some idiot, doing work they never wanted to do in the first place – and to bring some ray of sunshine into their otherwise drab 9-to-5 lives.
UNOFFICIAL, HONEST ANSWER: To have some laughs and pay my rent. Not necessarily in that order.

Q. Where do you get your topics?

A. Our content can be broken into two main chunks: what we call the "blog" column (i.e. the middle column of the home page, which we update frequently throughout the day), and everything else (videos, downloadable posters, free e-cards, photo galleries, etc. – all of which we produce ourselves). * The blog content is the usual "ripped from the headlines" stuff – we find things online or in papers, magazines, and so on that amuse, annoy or impress us, and then comment on it somehow. * The rest – the videos, posters, etc. – just comes from our own sad
brains. We try to meet several times a week to brainstorm, but much of
this content comes from us just sitting and staring at our computer
screens until something happens.

Either way, we produce all of our content with the end user in mind: that twentysomething person stuck in a cube, wondering how the hell he got there and how the hell he can get out. Until he does manage to escape, we're there to show him he's not alone.

Q. Do you know who your readers are and if so, do you have much interaction with them? Anything interesting to say about them?

A. So far, most of what we know is anecdotal. We do get a fair amount of e-mail from readers, and thus far the feedback is very encouraging. The overriding theme in their e-mails to us is gratitude. They thank us for giving them a laugh at work – which in turn is gratifying for *us*. It's just a big, wet, sloppy circle of gratitude. Plus they send us funny photos and stuff.
If you know, are your readers language or journalism experts or just
regular folks?
This is just a hunch, but no, I think most of our readers are NOT
language mavens. Although I do hear that William Safire is a big fan –
particularly of
this poster. (Just kidding. I don't think William Safire, bless his heart, knows
how to use an "Internet.")

Q. Do you try to post on a regular schedule or as topics arise?

A.Because we're aimed at working stiffs, we work the same hours they do, assuming they're in the eastern time zone. So we post Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. till roughly 5:30 p.m.

Q. Do you think we should think about linking in some fashion to deliver language or other advice by e-mail or share content more regularly? (This is completely off the top of my head and did not inspire this Q&A.)

A. I'm thrilled that you find some Office Pirates posts linkworthy, but
honestly I'm not sure most of our readers (being "regular folks") would appreciate the language-y posts I've seen – and enjoyed – on Words at Work. Sorry!

Q. Do you consider yourself web savvy or up to date on technology? Will we still be blogging in five years or will technology completely replace this method of communication?

A. I consider myself web SARVY, which is like "web savvy" but sexier. As for how we'll be communicating five years from now… I have no earthly idea. The romantic in me likes to think that we'll be sending more letters through the mail. The romantic in me also likes to think we'll call the mail "the post," like the British do. It just sounds cooler.

Q. How much time do you spend each week on your blog?

A.More than I care to admit.

Q. What are your favorite language web sites or blogs?

A. Honestly, I don't really have any. I spend so much time reading online, I don't have much time or energy for language sites. I re-read Strunk & White every so often, and I do try to check out Jan Freeman's column in the Boston Globe. (I try to read Safire's "On Language" when I can, really I do, but it somehow makes me uncomfortable. Especially when he devotes a column to slang.)

Q. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

A. Nope. Thanks for the opportunity to spread the word!

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