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Write Now: Imagine Not Being Able To Process A Print Advertisement

It may happen to you every day, but you probably don’t realize it.

From the time you awake until the time you go to sleep, some form of advertising bombards your senses.

It’s a good thing or a bad thing.

The good thing may be that you can process the message or messages.

The bad thing may be if you were functionally illiterate.

You would be bombarded, but you may not be able to process the message or messages. Why? It’s because you can only read and write on a third- or fourth-grade level. You can’t understand certain words because you may not be able to pronounce them or even know what they mean. So you meander about your day. And if you choose to write, your skills are also limited to maybe your name.

It’s a sad scenario, but one that is all too familiar.

But is easily corrected.

Even though the ads play to your emotions, you can process them because you possess the knowledge and skills to do so. And you don’t realize you do it because it becomes part of a daily routine. Reading is a skill that one can improve over time. It doesn’t matter if you can read fast or slow. What matters is that you can understand and comprehend what you are reading.

If you can’t comprehend the words, then a lot of things are foreign to you. Something as simple as a billboard may go unnoticed because you can’t comprehend the message.

But it’s easily corrected.

If you know someone who has trouble reading and writing, don’t be afraid to help him. You would be doing him a huge favor. It’s not a time to play the blame game to try to figure out who is responsible for the illiteracy. It’s not your call. Just offer your skills and help him get his skills to a point where he can absorb and comprehend the words he would see on a daily basis. You may like the result.

LINER NOTES

I miss the big album covers with great art. I remember walking into a record store and seeing the albums and the posters that adorned the walls. My senses were running on all cylinders. Not now. With digital technology, the music may sound better, but the artwork and the liner notes are presented differently.

I think the artwork suffers a bit because there is not a square canvas that you can see. I mean the record covers or jackets as some people refer to them as, are not as captivating in my opinion. Compact discs tried to revive the art form, but some of the art was lost in translation. Some CDs actually had art printed on the CDs themselves which showed a certain amount of creativity.

But what I miss most are the liner notes. It was the words printed on the inner sleeve of the album. Usually there was enough information to give a brief history of the band, notes about the musicians, the recording sessions, the instruments used and so on. It was the only way, back then, before digital, that you could get additional information about a band. Sometimes the liner notes extended or began on the back cover, or if the cover was a foldout where it opened like a book, the liner notes may placed there. The only other place to get the information were music magazines like Rolling Stone, Creem, or maybe Spin. There was no YouTube or Internet webpages housed information about bands.

To learn about your favorite band, you may have had to wait a month for a magazine, or wait for another album to be recorded. There was a timeline that was followed. With digital, and the 24-hour news cycle, the mystique that may have surrounded the band is lost. And sometimes with too much information, there can be sensory overload or burnout, and then desensitization may set in (where music begins to sound the same, and the musicians begin to figuratively look alike.)

I love the technology aspect, and even though I work in the journalism field, the 24-hour news cycle can be exhausting at times. A band’s public relations representative or publicist has to work overtime to keep repackaging the same news. Someone once told me this: “I take good press or bad press. It’s when I get no press that I should worry.” With good or bad press, the artist is in the news cycle, and people are making decisions based on the information given to them. With no press, people can’t make those informed decisions, and the artist may be forgotten.

Writing liner notes is a lost genre. A band or artist should employ a PR rep or publicist who in turn employs a good writer to tell the band’s or artist’s story. A daunting task — to say the least.

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