5 Fantastic Highlights from BuzzFeed’s Style Guide

The internet (lowercase i) has a language all its own.

While LOL and OMG finally made their way into the OED a few years ago , traditional bastions of style like the AP have lagged behind the times (e.g., The New York Times only dropped the hyphen from email a few months ago).

That’s why BuzzFeed’s release of an internet-friendly style guide is so necessary. How else would we know the proper verb form of Instagramming?

In celebration of the praiseworthy style guide, we’re giving you a listicle of our own highlighting the best bits of BuzzFeed’s style guide.

1. The Basics

It’s internet, website, and email. Not Internet, web site, or e-mail.

2. Googling and Other New Verbs

The company is capitalized (“He landed a job at Google”); the verb is not (“Always google a blind date beforehand”). More fun verbs: Instagramming, LOL-ing, fave-ing, DJ’ing, BS’ing, trendspotting, and bro-ing out.

3. Vive la Serial Comma

BuzzFeed bucked AP convention here by endorsing the serial comma, aka the Oxford comma. We agree: adding a comma after each item in a series is simple, clear, and easy to read.

4. Companies are Not People

This is a particular pet peeve of ours. Companies are referred to as “it,” not “they.” MarketSmiths is a copywriting agency, and it’s pretty awesome.

5. Writing About Websites

Vanity capitalization is a no-no (e.g., marketsmiths.com, not MarketSmiths.com), as is including the “www” of a URL.

Language is extremely fluid, constantly changing with the times. The advent of the internet only sends this process into hyperdrive. Still, it’s nice to have standards to stick to. Thanks, BuzzFeed!

Jean Tang

Jean Tang

A champion of high-end content, Jean is a living tribute to copywriting for humans. In 2012, at a TEDx talk, she declared her now widely viewed “War Against Bland.” The visionary founder of MarketSmiths, Jean leads her growing team to captivate, inspire, and motivate readers. She has helped thousands of global clients generate revenue from words (up to 12,000% ROI), and transformed the writing of hundreds of seminar attendees at the SXSW Interactive Festival (2014 and 2015), SXSW V2V (2014), the Small Business Summit (2014, NYC), and other venues.

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