Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Company Writes!

We've accepted "the company said" as shorthand for "an official-looking press release said." And some people skip the spokesperson.

But today, CNN.com had this:

"Thus, when considering even the most distant Facebook user in the Siberian tundra or the Peruvian rainforest, a friend of your friend probably knows a friend of their friend," Facebook wrote in a blog post about its findings.

It seems weird in the extreme to have a company write. "Said/says" has become neutral in terms of the mechanism, but "wrote/writes" is still very mechanical. And companies don't have fingers.

It would have been better as "Facebook said" or "a Facebook blog post said."

And given that the post in question (on Facebook, not on a blog, so "online post") has a byline:

by Facebook Data Team

the text could have easily read, "the Facebook Data Team said." It wouldn't have been as jarring if it were "The Facebook Data Team wrote." it's not *really* any different from "Facebook wrote," but it's better, because the data team will absolutely be made up of people. But Facebook is not; it's made up of shareholders, employees, etc.

Does "Facebook wrote" or "IBM wrote" or "Universal Pictures wrote" bother you?