“Spin” Writing

When they handed me my science degree in Psycho-Linguistics, a flash of panic surged through me where I wondered, “What the hell am I going to do with this?!”  I got this degree as an organic consequence of just taking the subjects that interested me. I lucked out that they summed up nicely into a coherent discipline.  I guess I had the undisclosed intention of being a professional student … until the reality of surviving hit.

I’d not done a stitch of thinking about things outside of University life. So, panic-driven, I leaped onto the closest train approximating a solution that accorded with the lifestyle I was currently living: more academia, but this time toward something.  Before doing any research on what Psycho-Linguists (P-Ls) do, I dived into getting an arts degree in Education, thinking that at least I could teach some of the subjects that I was especially good at.

After I got teaching-certified, I started teaching high school. I loathed, hated, despised, abhorred, and detested it. It wasn’t long before I began investigating jobs for P-Ls.  What I learned was that most of such people go into speech-writing.  Reason: they  are capable of writing content that can be understood different ways depending on the bent of a topic or audience. I never really thought of this type of writing as spin itself, but rather something that could be easily spun.

So here I am today, years & years later, looking for work on a project-bid website, and I find a request for a “writer who can write spinnable.”  So I look into it thinking it might be P-L’ly related.  In the project description, the company supplied an example:

{Most|The majority|A large number of} {cases|incidents} of anxiety {disorders|disease|conditions} can be {treated|cured|addressed} with {certain|particular} {therapies|remedies|cures}, such as behavioral therapy or exposure therapy, some medications, or a combination of both.

While I have never written that way except in technical writing where the pipe ( | ) signaled alternate values for a single variable, this seems like such a natural thing for me! So, I’m going to rewrite one of my sentences this way and see how close I come fresh out of the gate:

What I learned was that {many | most} of such people go into speech-writing.  Reason: they {should be | are} capable of {writing | crafting } content that can be {understood | spun} different ways depending on the {bent | mood | intensity } of a {topic | audience | topic or audience}.

But I wonder: how are such sentences used?  Do machines parse the alternate values?  When you write an alternate value for a variable, do the other value sets have to logically accord somehow where if you choose one value in a set that the appropriate value in the remaining sets is also chosen?

I guess I’ll have to look into that, huh?

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One Response

  1. OK, after running across another spin-writer job posting, I googled and found these: http://thebestspinner.com/?id=forfreedom and http://secretwitter.com/magic-article-rewriter/.

    Basically, the “spin” is where you provide for a block of synonyms for various words in an article so that a spin program (for instance) can generate a new, “{original | unique | non-plagiarized}” article based on the original.

    I can see the advantage of this for a person who has to come up with a lot of articles, but there’s something about paraphrasing a sentence by changing some of the words that falls short of a writer’s actually understanding the content and providing a different perspective on it. Of course, if it is not your job to provide perspective, but rather only {original | unique | non-plagiarized} content, then spinning seems the best option.

    So, a writer, then, that writes spin is a writer that provides his own synonyms for the content, which allows other people to present his article in an “original” way. I guess the value of a writer’s doing that is so that the base intent is faithfully rendered.

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