It was not very long ago when those of us who worked in the media were referred to somewhat cynically as “spin doctors”. Constantly having to put a new ‘spin’ on a story. Political speech writers are good at finding the right ‘spin’.
There is another kind of ‘spin too which we’ve learned to use in the advertising business. It’s one of those tools you absolutely need, but one which you might just hate to use. Article spinning software. Until recently those three words were enough to set me binge drinking. I suppose, when you have written the same advertisements 50 times trying to say the same thing in a different way you get to the point of “synonym blindness”. You just can’t think of one more synonym. Flipping through the thesaurus was mind numbingly slow.
And then someone in the agency decided to use one of those free online article spinners. In no time at all spinning copy was a sort of office joke. Hilarious pieces of nonsensical copy would appear in your e-mail box. Have you noticed just by the way, how a colleague can be sitting so close to you that you can hear their teeth clicking on their lunchtime sandwich, never actually talks to you? They send you emails. I hate that too.
Anyway, article spinning. I was never happy with the totally inadequate free stuff. I didn’t expect much more when Vera sauntered into the office putting the Cheshire cat to shame and churned out an astounding 450 thirty second commercials in a single day! Granted, Vera can manicure and polish her nails while composing copy. She’s one of those girls who spends the time and effort, and she has speech recognition, the windows variety, nothing flash pretty much word perfect.
She had gone on line and bought an article spinner called The Best Spinner. It was on special, if you can call the first seven days for $7.00 special. The proviso being that you could try it and if you really like it, you could pay another $77.00, making a total of $84.00 for the annual licence fee. Yes, annual licence fee. I remember thinking I could get botox and a facial for that!
The free stuff was pretty crummy, and I wasn’t exactly expecting a great deal from The Best Spinner. If it had been anyone but Vera they would probably have messed about with it churned out a heap of totally inappropriate advertising copy and we’d have laughed at their foolishness. There’s no sympathy in our office for spending money on something that isn’t a concert ticket or massage or a romantic weekend.
With about 1 1/4 million synonyms The Best Spinner boasts about double the number of the next “Pay-for” competitor. The Best Spinner developer isn’t paying me one red cent to say this, so I can be brutally honest. Many of the synonyms appear to have been added by some one from Asia studying English as a second language. That is, my highly educated Indian friend who is a solicitor speaks perfect English, but she learnt English at school in India where, it appears one is is encouraged to use five words where one would do. This is a major disadvantage of The Best Spinner. The synonyms are user contributed, and the software would have been much better for having added a good professional thesaurus. But really that is the only complaint.
Over years a writer develops “a voice”. It’s what she hears in her creative moments. Article spinners can take away the voice in a matter of seconds. It takes diligence and practice. It takes discipline. Article spinning software is not going to turn a bad writer into a good one. It can however turn a good writer into a slightly better one.
I’ve been practicing for a week, five or six hours a day and bit by bit I’ve been able to uncover the power of The Best Spinner. It’s deceptive, it does a lot, and it does it simply, but it does need disciplined input. The writer doesn’t want to lose her voice but there’s nothing wrong with changing it a little. I haven’t yet been able to match the claims of ” generating hundreds of articles from a single article that are 90% unique.” I’ve managed 70% while still maintaining what I think of as my unique voice. It will take a little more practice, constant rewriting and polishing. I do hope article spinner’s won’t get the reputation of being a good way to cheat, or a good way to fool search engines. I’ve found some marvelous way to edit my novel and have a powerful thesaurus actively on my desktop. Oh yes, I’ve foregone the dermabrasion and I have shelled out for the software. The Best Spinner isn’t perfect by a long shot, but it is the best spinner by a long shot and it can only get better. 3 1/2 out of five.
Here’s just a small example of a “spun” paragraph. It hasn’t been rewritten or polished. it’s exactly as it came out of the spinner.
ORIGINAL: Years ago spinning was basically a discipline that took time diligence, and real love to weave a good wearable garment. Yarn most often was wool and to be able to spin a high quality item of clothing the wool would need to be managed at just the perfect tension, or perhaps be more pulled out and precisely knotted. Some fibres, (and truth be told there were a great many,) would need different techniques in addition to totally different approaches, and then the final result ended up being typically a meaningful thing of pure beauty.
SPUN COPY WITHOUT REWRITE: Once upon a time spinning was an occupation that took time effort, and love to weave a wearable garment. Yarn was most often wool and to spin a quality garment the yarn would have to be kept at the correct tension, or be stretched out, knotted precisely. Other fibers, and there were a great many would require different methodology and different techniques, and the finished product was often a thing of beauty.