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Why I Support Classic Title Case for Blog Posts

Online publications have pretty much abandoned the classic title case. This may seem innocuous, but it is actually one of many ways our modern culture has diluted the art of writing. Writers used to be called "men of letters", which was a bit of a double entendre because it could mean they wrote many letters to other people, but also that they were masters of letters---not just books, not just essays, not just words even---but the very letters that comprise a word. That's how meticulous a writer must be. Every letter, punctuation and space means something. We writers will soon be replaced by artificial intelligence if we don't show the world the idiosyncrasies of real intelligence.

So, to be more precise, why is the title case significant?

It makes important words stand out more

I've seen enough online content---especially in comments sections---written in ALL CAPS, as if doing this successfully emphasizes the writer's point. It doesn't. In fact, it severely weakens their point. A capitalization loses its value when it is used too often. Likewise, when a writer uses capitalization less frequently---and properly---the words he capitalizes exhibit more distinction. If you're trying to make every word you write hold more weight, you may think that capitalizing each word---or each letter---will give you the outcome you desire. But what it really does is diminish the power of the words that matter most. If every word you're saying is special, then none of them are.

Joe Haupton Flickr. Vintage Newspaper Advertising For The 1910 Studebaker Electric Automobiles In The Los Angeles Herald, October 16, 1910.

It makes articles look more custom and creative

Novels and many creative writing genres still use the title case. It's a widely recognized way to show that the written piece is a work of creative literature, and not just your standard news brief or editorial column. But today, we have so many online news sources, if there is anything noteworthy being said then it gets lost in the jungle of monotonous composition. In other words, so many websites are trying to come up with catchy headlines and titles for their posts that words aren't enough anymore. It's all been said.

Shocking isn't even shocking anymore. Provocative headlines are just part of our everyday feed. If you want your headlines to stand out, do something different. Don't just offer a list of the 10 best ways to draw traffic to your site. Show that there is some creative intelligence behind your post. Instead of capitalizing every word or letter in your headline, use the classic title case in your post title.

A word about capitalizing no words in a headline

Another way people disregard the title case is by abandoning the capitalization of any word in the headline so it just looks like a normal sentence. This is common for news headlines online today, and has been common in newspapers since the beginning. So, it's not that I'm lamenting the loss of any vintage style. I'm simply arguing for a more conscientious choice for our titles. If you want your title or headline to look just like a sentence, then go ahead and just abandon the title case altogether like most people do. There is nothing wrong with it. But if you want to show that you put some thought into every word, and decided to make these words the very choice title of your piece, making them more important than the rest, perhaps you should consider using the title case. I use a heading font for my subheadings, and I don't use the title case because they're not titles. So if I don't use the title case for my actual headline, I am failing to distinguish it from my subheadings.

A headline may not be a title to a book, but it has similar qualities. It is the most important statement in the piece of literature. It is the central point and therefore ought to be treated differently in more ways than one: Making the words larger and bolder for your headline is not enough. In a sensationalist society where we have, for the most part, lost interest in the finer details of life, using the classic title case could be a small but refreshing sign of thoughtfulness.

Having trouble capitalizing a title? The website is so simple and easy to use, I don't even need them to sponsor me to recommend them.


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