Category: Communication

So What IS the Etymology of ROI?

At the opening of “What’s the ROI for This Article?” Todd Wasserman points to a shift in language: The phrase “return on investment” began to grow in popularity just as the phrase “return on capital” began to lose popularity.

The word-nerd in me immediately perked up. Why would the language change if we’re still talking about pretty much the same thing—”bang for your buck,” as Wasserman says.

Alas, Wasserman notes that the reasons are “unclear.”

I looked at the Google Ngram he provided and saw that the increased usage of ROI began in the 1960s. And I couldn’t help but wonder if the shift began—at least in part—because the term “investment” was more amenable to the mood of the Sixties than the term “capital” was. As is so frequently the case, language morphs with the times.

Any bets on whether a political scientist somewhere has already written the article on this? Otherwise, there’s got to be a master’s thesis in here somewhere…

Meaning comes from the intersection of multiple sources. In the old days, journalists triangulated truth against a handful of sources. Today, we need to triangulate truth against millions of sources.


Brian Solis, Without Analytics, Big Data is Just Noise

Branding (or Rebranding) Yourself

Last week I listened to John Heaney from Orange Envelopes talk about “Building your social media brand.” (View the slide show.)

John emphasized the importance of having a personal branding statement—that is, a brief sentence that describes what you do, for whom, and what you deliver.

His talk was right on time, as I’m in the process of rebranding.

Currently, my personal branding statement is “I write creative content for web and print.” As I look at that statement and at my accomplishments and interests, I quickly see that I’m so much more than that. I’m not only a writer, nor do I want to be. So it’s time for a re-brand to match the direction my career is going.

Writing a branding statement isn’t easy. There’s a lot to capture in just a few carefully-chosen words.

In a moment of frustration, I considered ditching the statement entirely. Is it really necessary? I thought. After all, my re-launched website (coming soon!) will contain plenty of information that describes my brand.

Nevertheless, a personal branding statement is necessary—especially in the age of social media. I need a brief, compelling way to gain a potential client’s / employer’s / business partner’s attention. As John said in his talk, the purpose of a personal branding statement is to make someone ask the next question: “Tell me more!” It gets the conversation started.

My new personal branding statement is still in progress. Below are some resources I’m consulting to help me with the thought process. One theme that stands out is uniqueness—what makes you or me different from others? What makes you or me stand out professionally?

Writing Samples

Go ahead—take a look at some of my work.

Thumbnails captioned “Web” were originally web pages. By clicking the image and then enlarging, you will be able to view the page much as it actually appeared online. Use your “back” button to return to this page.

Thumbnails captioned “Print” will open in a new window as a PDF. These pieces originally appeared in print.

Homepage of The Graduate School at Binghamton University. My contributions are outlined in dotted red. Web.

Homepage of Binghamton University’s Graduate Community of Scholars (GCOS). Web.

NSF-AGEP at Binghamton University (serving diversity scholars in science and technology). Web.

MPA Alumni Profiles for the CCPA at Binghamton University

Research Homepage for The Graduate School at Binghamton University

Graduate Certificates Application Instructions

Alumni profiles, Master’s in Public Administration.  Web.

Research homepage for The Graduate School at Binghamton University. Web. 

Application instructions for graduate certificate programs at Binghamton University. Web.

Promotional Interview with Danny Abramowicz

Editor's introductory column

Book Review of Benedict XVI by Peter Seewald

Promotional interview with Danny Abramowicz. Print. 

Editor’s column, introducing the issue.  Print.

Book review. Print.

Book Review of Real Women, Real Saints by Gina Loehr



Book review. Print. 

Note: This site is in process. I will be posting a representative portfolio, so be sure to check back or contact me for more. Connect with me via e-mail: sarah [at]