Saturday, April 26, 2008

i cant read ur txt speak

Some horrific yet predictable survey results were released this week stating that teens are allowing emoticons, text message abbreviations and other informal style errors slip into their school writing assignments. Apparently kids don't even run Spell Check nowadays.

While some argue that this is a happy occurrence that gives teachers a unique opportunity to explain the difference between formal and informal writing styles, I disagree. I think it's appalling that students would punctuate a sentence with an emoticon (much less text message abbreviations!) in a writing assignment that will be turned in for a grade.
Thus the Civil War was over. :-) The Union totally pwned the Confederacy. ROFLMAO
If you were a teen writing the sentence above, wouldn't some kind of alarm go off in your head? As my high school chemistry teacher once said to me, "I don't understand what you don't understand about this." Why would anyone think it was ever OK to use informal styles in formal writing?

I'll tell you why: Because the ease of communication brought about by texting, the Internet and other technology has made people sloppy. In fact, quick and dirty writing is strongly encouraged. In the world of IMs and text messaging, copy editors and Grammar Nazis need to check their sensibilities at the door. Everything is streamlined and instantaneous. As long as you can express the basic meaning of what you're trying to communicate, everybody's happy.

WAKE UP, PEOPLE! Don't you know that the ability to spell and correctly use commas is what separates us from the apes?!

Unfortunately, the teens who are currently defiling their high school writing assignments with smileys and abbreviations will soon be LOLing their way to colleges and law schools and careers. Will standards continue to slip? Will online and text message colloquialisms creep into the Chicago Manual of Style status quo? I certainly hope not.

But u cant say 4 sure, can u? ;-P



Katie Fee said...

What I think is almost even worse is the horrible errors you see in online media supposedly written by people who are trained journalists. The number of typos, missed words, and incorrect punctuation in articles posted on "reputable" news websites is really terrible. It drives me nuts.

B said...


Chris said...

"Use your aggressive feelings, boy! Let the hate flow through you..."
--Emperor Palpatine

Well done! I've never seen such passion in one of your posts before, and for a great cause. Aggression may lead to the dark side, but txtspch leads there a lot quicker.

Matt said...

@katie: Don't worry, my mission in life is to clean up the world's online media, one "reputable" news site at a time.

@chris: Wow, you left a positive comment! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

That's right, Matt! Stick it to those snot-nosed teens!

~A non-snot-nosed one