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Wired Style: Principles of English Usage in the Digital Age Paperback – December 28, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0767903721 ISBN-10: 0767903722 Edition: Rev Upd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway; Rev Upd edition (December 28, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767903722
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767903721
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,829,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Remarkably more down-to-earth than its predecessor, the revised Wired Style guide is a handy little reference for digerati, or those who think they are. This version is much more accessible to general Internet users, not unlike the Web, which has become more mainstream in the three years since the original publication was released. (The previous edition was criticized for its pomposity and near-incomprehensibility.) This revision still delivers the inside scoop, though. You'll not only learn how to talk about cyberspace (for example, you can read about the evolution of the term "email" and why Wired prefers it without the hyphen), you'll also get an encyclopedic listing of all the trendy lingo that describes it.

Geared heavily toward high-tech communications writers but of use to any Web surfer, this pocket-size manual employs a very simple structure: it contains a short and well-organized discussion on writing technical material clearly and interestingly; a compact but thorough dictionary of relevant terms; a brief style FAQ (with answers to questions such as, "What's the deal with all those capital letters in the middle of words?"); and a petite index.

The introduction offers 10 "Principles for Writing Well in the Digital Age," encouraging you to "play with voice," "capture the colloquial," and "flaunt your subcultural literacy," all trademarks of Wired's tendency to be esoteric. Sure, it's fun and cool to be colloquial and subculturally in the know, but it's just as important to be widely understood. Luckily, in this edition, the editors have caught on to this, and have produced a guide that is smart, useful, and almost unpretentious. --Teri Kieffer

From Library Journal

Everyone today is traveling the information superhighway, surfing the net, sending and receiving E-mail, and creating a homepage. Along with the digital revolution come big changes in our language and word usage. The editors of Wired magazine take up these changes in this product of their new publishing division. The work looks at how the digital age has changed the way we write; it sets out to give a new set of rules to use along with Elements of Style and The Chicago Manual of Style. A large part of the book is lists of words and acronyms with definitions, e.g., "IRL?in real life?Online shorthand. All caps." The book looks like the magazine without the color; the binding is hardcover with concealed wire-o and slipcase. This interesting, artful, and inexpensive edition will find a niche in most collections.?Lisa J. Cihlar, Winfield P. L., Ill.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

I am a writer and critic based in San Francisco. I grew up on the North Shore of Oahu, where I spoke "proper" English at home and Hawaiian creole (or "Pidgin English") at school and with friends. I'm sure that this "bilingual upbringing" gave me my obsession with language. I travel to Hawaii often for both personal and professional reasons, and to stay connected to that culture I study the hula here in California. (My husband says I will dance at the drop of a hat, but actually it's Hawaiian music that makes me want to move.)

I left the islands to get a B.A. from Princeton, then spent a number of years writing fiction and drama, performing solo pieces in San Francisco coffeehouses and getting rejection letters. I loved journalism, so got a master's degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, then worked as a reporter and editor at several California newspapers before joining Wired magazine. There I began seriously dabbling in the idiosyncrasies of the mother tongue and wrote "Wired Style: Principles of English Usage in the Digital Age" in 1996, and then "Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose," in 1999. The books got me dubbed "Marion the Librarian on a Harley or E.B. White on acid."

"Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch" completes the trilogy. I was still curious about the history of English--and indeed the evolution of language itself--and wanted to explore some of my ideas about how and why the verb is the linchpin of great writing. It's intended to be useful to professional writers and students, but also just fun and weird and interesting. I also wrote a series on the sentence for "Draft," in the New York Times Opinionator, and through my Web site I offer tips, techniques, and teaching materials to writers and teachers across the country and the world.

I don't only write about language; I've covered Latino culture, Berkeley politics, ethnic-folk music, and Hawaiian sovereignty in publications as diverse as The Atlantic Monthly, Honolulu, National Geographic Adventure, and Smithsonian. My travel pieces and personal essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Dallas Morning News, Miami Herald, San Francisco Chronicle, and numerous anthologies.

The secret to the writing I like: an unusual combo of classy and sassy. The secret to the teaching I like: smart lessons and hilarious fun. The secret to the life I seek: giving of yourself to others.

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 63 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
As a copy editor, I have to try to find a consistent spelling for terms that appear regularly, some of which are not yet in the dictionary. In 1998 I bought the 1996 hardcover version of this book, thinking it would fill in the gaps dictionaries and other stylebooks have left regarding how to consistently spell "website," "webpage," "email," "e-commerce," "Internet," "intranet," etc. It was the only book I saw on the subject back then. The capitalization of "Internet" makes some sense, but capitalizing "Web site" and making it two words does not really, especially since in the 1999 revised soft cover version they add the possibilities of lowercased, unhyphenated single words like "webzine" and "webmaster" (not Webmaster, etc.). The insistence on not hyphenating "email" but hyphenating "e-commerce" ends up making an article I edited look ridiculously inconsistent. I had "Web site," "intranet," "Internet," "email," "e-commerce" and other terms all appearing in the same story. And let's face it, everyone spells it "website" in email (e-mail?) except the authors of this stylebook. I find it useless and hope to find a better stylebook for internet and other techno-specific terms that considers the needs of copy editors.
Thank goodness for the book's index re: finding what I was looking for though!
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Robert Stribley on May 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you're not careful, reading this book could make you feel pretty hip, pretty web-savvy, and maybe even a little superior; but you might feel a little dirty when it's all over.
First off, and most importantly, Wired Style isn't a style book. Strunk & White for the web, it ain't. That book hasn't been written yet. Wired Style is certainly written in the Wired style, but it provides mostly definitions and few examples of usage.
Wired Style *is* funny sometimes, witty sometimes and condescending often. It may help you learn a fair bit about the web. I could even say it's an engaging read. But it's not gonna help you become a better writer, which is what style guides are intended to do. A better-informed writer? OK.
So, essentially, Wired Style is, you know, it's pretty snazzy, rad, awesome, boss. It's da bomb. It's way cool. (Sorry, I guess you get the point.) Which means it'll sound pretty out-dated within a few years. But it makes for a light, fun, superiority complex-inducing read right now.
For those concerned with "e-mail" versus "email," "web site" versus "website" and other similar dilemmas, just strive for consistency in your own writing. Also, hyphens usually disappear over time, so if you're typing "email" instead of "e-mail," you're just ahead of the curve; we'll probably all be writing it that way eventually.
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41 of 48 people found the following review helpful By "brentdavidjohn" on January 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
Having read through the first edition, I looked forward to the next, which was supposed to be organized like a real style guide (read: The AP Stylebook and Libel Manual) and less like an in-your-face, smarmy declaration of war against English. At least the editors of Wired accomplished that much, renaming some key writing principles like "Screw the Rules" with "Be Irreverent."
But you really have to wonder about a style guide which quotes Entertainment Weekly -- that's right, Entertainment Weekly, that standard bearer of educational enlightenment -- not once, but TWICE on its back cover. This means that the publishers had a hard time coming up with complementary quotes to fill in the space. I work as a copywriter for a book publisher, and to quote the same publication twice on the same cover is simply bad, bad form -- only the most desperate of publishers do so.
Little wonder why EW reviewed this book -- after all, Wired Style is SO funny, like the little jab it takes at hackers when defining "Trojan Horse":
"The work of dark-side hackers. A seemingly innocuous program that hides a malicious virus.... the word is proof that hackers read the classics."
Ha. Ha. Isn't that smart? Because we all thought hackers hadn't read the classics, and wouldn't know what a Trojan Horse is. You'd never find this kind of "humor," this smartalecky take on English usage, in the New York Times Manual of Style and Usage.
Read more ›
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 21, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book from on the advice of a good friend who writes technical support manuals for a software company; I figured it was a sure bet. I wish now that I had read the reviews before I clicked "Add this to your shopping cart."
What a *perfect* example of style over substance -- and a style attempting to imitate that of _The Chicago Manual of Style_, at that (nice touch with the orange cover, kids...). This is really nothing more than a glorified glossary of terms with kicky packaging and hard-to-read pages. It's a magazine article about Internet/Web jargon on both steroids *and* acid. I expected much more in terms of content and guidance and I was sorely disappointed. I hope's return policy is as straightforward as it seems.
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