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The Grumpy Old Copywriter:
No, I Won't Be Your "Friend"

By Thaddeus Van Haltren

Thaddeus Van Haltren Back in my pre-copywriting days, I played the wash-board in a musical outfit known as Peanut McGee & the Pale Haberdashers. We toured extensively throughout southwest Indiana, sometimes taking home no more than a loaf of bread and pint of moonshine for our efforts. Not much to split among 16 band members.

We had several regional hits (you may remember "Ring Me Up, Soda Jerk," "So's Your Old Man!" and "Golly, That's a Nifty Bonnet"). But after an angry crowd at a Terra Haute speakeasy booed us off the stage in 1928, we lost our confidence and decided to call it quits.

Why do I regale you with tales of my misspent youth? Because I recently received a Facebook invitation from Barnaby Finswipe, who played second kazoo in the Pale Haberdashers. Apparently, he wants to be my "Friend."

Well, Barnaby and I haven't spoken in 78 years on account of a dispute over ownership of a raccoon coat. Now he expects me to act like nothing ever happened? That makes me madder than a wet hen!

My point is this, dear reader: Be selective when using Facebook or similar social net-working sites to contact people. If you lost touch after your sophomore year in college or your World War I infantry went home, they're probably not too anxious to hear from you now.

Thaddeus Van Haltren founded The Hired Pens in 1931 and now serves as our senior copywriter emeritus. His current accounts include Lux Detergent and Aunt Mildred's Clam Juice Cocktail.


August 2008: Also in This Issue

Three Rules to Writing Conversationally

Writing Effective Marketing Emails, Pt. 2

Inside the Writer's Studio: Melanie DeCarolis


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