For ten years now, I have been (mostly) happily married to a Grammar Nazi (Someone who believes it’s their duty to correct any grammar and/or spelling mistakes they observe). My husband is the guy who you will see on your news feed correcting your usage of *there *their and *they’re. It comes in handy when I need someone to proof a blog or press release. It also keeps me on my toes and primed to pounce on him should he ever make a genuine slip up in his supposedly superior written or spoken communication. It feels so good to be able to correct him on the rare occasion he makes a mistake.
In general, we rarely use popularized abbreviated terminologies. A huge list of acronyms, emoticons, abbreviations, and memes have been sneaking into common usage since the herald of the text message and the evolution to regular instant messaging and so forth. I’ve often had to refer to the Urban Dictionary, or Google things that sneak their way into regular enough usage that even an old lady like myself becomes exposed.
Every generation, every sub-culture, even every individual will have some form of secret or “in” vernacular and/or dialect. I used to use pig Latin (which unbeknown to me as a 12 year old, my mother was fluent in… DOH!) and we’d share handwritten notes that were thinly veiled with code in case of interception.
All I want to share/suggest to whoever is taking the time to read this today is this:
Observing correct grammar and semantics is better than okay, it is great! There is a time and a place for abbreviations, text and IM slang. It breaks down barriers, shows like-minded humans that you are hip to similar lingo and that both unifies and separates you from those who are not familiar with the usage. It is casual, it potentially saves time typing, and it is an ever-evolving language in its own right. A lot of the online text and IM slang is quite universal, which breaks down language and cultural barriers.
I think using text and IM abbreviations and slang is akin to swearing. You must know your audience and you must use it sparingly as you’ll be judged on how and when you use it.
I swear like a sailor around the people I Love and trust, but you’ll rarely see me use a foul or negative word online. It is all about perception, respect and not ostracizing anyone I interact with on social media. It may sound contrived, but only because it is.
So for now, I will continue to put forth an earnest effort to write my messages with grammar and semantic accuracy and precision. Okay, maybe not precision, my love of words and language in general will often lead me to waffle, but I do endeavor to ensure my waffling observes the rules.
I encourage you to do the same when you are talking to an audience that you respect or are unfamiliar with.
Now, I shall hand this very short blog over to my very own resident Grammar Nazi for perusal, and post it for the world to see.