Dear Facebook Friends,
I try not to correct your spelling, your incorrect use of you’re/your and they’re/their/there. I try to live and let live, tell myself that you’re being artistic, in a hurry, or that spelling/ grammar isn’t your priority, as going to the gym isn’t mine. Sometimes, however, when I see you go on a mostly incoherent rant about others, I think about how much more effective that rant would be with commas, correct spelling, and good grammar. You see, then I could fully appreciate your rant, rather than having to decipher everything you’ve written down. I could follow along, sharing your pain and indignation, rather than having to wonder where the periods should go.
I promise, this isn’t directed at any one person. If it were, I would just tell that person. I’m not trying to be passive aggressive. Rather, this is a general response to what I see as the general laziness of the Internet. Just because I know what “u” means, doesn’t mean you have to skip the other two perfectly useful letters. In text form, I get it. Ever since I watched the TED talk by linguist John McWhorter, it makes perfect sense to me that texting is a completely different language, and not really a written language. However, text talk is only appropriate to use when communicating with someone else who speaks text. I don’t. Therefore using anything other than the most obvious abbreviations goes over my head. Facebook is a general means of communicating with all your “friends.” Doesn’t it make sense, then, to communicate in the language everyone speaks, and not “text”?
I get passionate about grammar, spelling, and punctuation, not because I think everyone should be a wonderful writer, but because I think it’s important for people to at least know the basics. Oral communication is being replaced, somewhat, by written communication. (Which I find ironic.) I don’t talk on the phone the way I did when I was 16, and I don’t think 16 year olds much use the phone to “talk” anymore. They text, they Facebook, Snapchat, and a million other things that I’m too old and was never cool enough to understand. Most of those have a written element to them.
Now, more than ever, isn’t it important to know the fundamentals of language? Should we correct people who make mistakes, or is it more important to be polite?
In any case, thank you for taking the time to read my rant.