The first "thing" of today was applying for a job at an online community called Real Village, a networking site. It was begun an online publication which targets parents, particularly mums, in London. Being a lifestyle publication, it suits my experience very well. So I sent off my CV and cover letter today – I'll let you know how it goes.
The job was sent to me by someone I just met recently and have only met once or twice. Still, knowing a little about me and my interests career-wise, she thought of me when she saw the listing, which goes to show you that networking doesn't only have to be with people in the industry, because you never know who might have their ear to the ground for you, or who might have a good contact they'd be willing to introduce you to.
Now, the aforementioned (and wildly anticipated) "common theme" linking today's two activities is friendship. I was passed this link by my oldest friend Amy, (a brilliant Speech and Drama practitioner working in two schools in Sydney) when she read this article about the recent outcry over the Oxford Comma. For anyone who has never paid much attention to the humble comma, here is a brief rundown of this favourite of punctuation enthusiasts:
The Oxford Comma is the use of a comma before the "and" when listing a series of discrete entities. Thus, "Today, I went to work, called a bunch of people who didn't really want to hear my voice, and then went home." Similarly, "I love reading, singing, comedy, and cooking." The outcry is over the fact that the style guide of the PR department at Oxford University now instructs against the usage of the Oxford Comma in all situations.
Now, I have an interesting relationship with the comma for a punctuation pedant. I am in favour of using commas to promote the ease of understanding a written sentence, but I don't like to overuse them. I think it comes from my background in drama: when reading aloud, the comma denotes a short pause for breath, and too much breathing results in hyperventilation. Thus, I consider the "and" in a list to stand in appropriately for the final comma to separate the final entity of a list, so I have never used the Oxford Comma, except in instances where leaving it out could entirely misrepresent what you're meaning to say. For instance, leaving it out in this sentence:
"My parents, JK Rowling and Martin Amis" results in an obfuscation of the state of affairs (my regards to Twitter for that rather amusing example). So you'd want to put "My parents, JK Rowling, and Martin Amis." In my own writing however, I would be inclined to write "JK Rowling, Martin Amis and my parents", which makes all the sense and requires fewer commas.
And to end it on a light note, just to convince you that commas are a very powerful little group of pixels, let us consider the difference between
"Let's eat, mum!"
"Let's eat mum!"
I think we can all agree that, if commas can prevent us from cannibalism, they deserve a second glance.