To describe something is to put words to something that already exists. Descriptions usually come from a genuine, outside perspective. Descriptions usually have no agenda but to share.
To prescribe something is to use words to force things into existence. Prescriptions usually come from the person / side / thing that’s being described. Prescriptions usually have an agenda, whether it be explicit or hidden.
In most situations, it’s obvious whether a set of words is descriptive or prescriptive. If I tell you that you gained weight over the holiday season, it’s a description of what has already taken place. However, if I tell you to go to the gym to work off the holiday gluttony, then it’s a prescription telling you what to do.
But sometimes it isn’t so clear.
If a book review tells you that a book is the best book ever written, it’s hard to tell whether it’s a true an honest review that is trying to help you understand if the book would be a worthwhile read or simply a review to get you to buy the book.
And sometimes a confusion can cause some major problems.
Someone who is described as a good leader generally is a good leader. Someone who is prescribed as a good leader might turn out to be extremely manipulative.
But still yet, it’s not that simple.
Everyone has their share of beliefs, their worldview, and perspective that effects the words that they use. It’s impossible to be certain whether a person is using words to simply describe something or trying to prescribe something.
Pay attention to the words that you use and the way that you say things. What do you realize?
Basically, if you are unfamiliar with either service, both provide a way to manage mailing lists by allowing people to subscribe/unsubscribe to email updates whenever you send them. Phplist, while it got the job done, just wasn’t very friendly to the average user.
Phplist is an php application which needs to be installed on a server, because phplist only provides the application, and not the server.
Then I found MailChimp. Finding MailChimp was like finding the perfect match to what I was looking for. It allowed me to create a custom subscribe page and easily manage and email subscribers.
At first, I was skeptical that something like this would be easily integrable with a custom-designed existing website. But after the initial registration process, I found that it was very possible to integrate it with a custom html page with a simple php form action. I also found the page customization feature on MailChimp very easy to use.
I was a bit confused when I saw the term “campaign” used instead of something more clear, like “message” or “update”. But after I figured that a campaign was simply an email update to all the subscribers on a list, I quickly began playing around with the settings. The campaign editor has a huge variety of designs to choose from, which can be a bit overwhelming if you don’t have a particular color scheme in mind. The built-in email WYSIWYG editor is very coherent and easy to use.
This feature of Mailchimp impressed me the most. It gives you realtime, constantly updated statistics as to how many people have opened and read your campaign, as well as the statistics of clicks on links you may have provided in your campaign. This data can be very valuable for determining the reach and popularity of each of your updates.
MailChimp is definitely a very powerful, polished web-application that helps you maintain and stay connected with a group of subscribers. It’s got great features and a smooth interface that is unobtrusive and easy to use.