Is There Room for Good Grammar in Social Media?
01/24 in Social Media
By: Charles Stiles
On my work station wall there is a picture of a smiling Snoopy hugging a frowning Charlie Brown. The caption reads: When Comforting A Grammar Snob I Always Say Softly, “There, Their, They’re.”
It’s enough to make my inner creative and critic get together for a laugh and a good cry.
In a world of social media where “Ur” isn’t the capital of an ancient Mesopotamian culture, how many readers actually appreciate the tragic joke?
There. Their. They’re. You’re. Your. To. Too. Two. The random use of numbers in place of prepositions. You’ve got to be kidding (UGTBK).
It’s a slippery slope, my friend. It began with innocent intentions – a language of shortcut “text speak” created to save time and remain under a character count. It ends with the death of clarity and precision. From internet memes to Facebook posts, tweets and, sadly, online news sources, grammar is taking a hit.
And with it, clear communication.
Not so gd 4 the reader
Back in late 2008, Reuters published “If u cn rd this quickly, gd 4 u,” an article discussing a study on the merits of text speak. The study found that while text speak wasn’t ruining spelling, it did take much longer to read and understand.
Let that sink in for a minute. It actually takes longer to understand the message when the writer takes shortcuts.
The laws of advertising tell us that you only have a few seconds to grab a reader’s attention. Shortcutting the message means the reader has to look at it longer to understand it. Put 2 & 2 together, and things aren’t looking so good 4 ur message.
That was four years ago. With internet creep, where does that leave us now?
I’ll tell you where. It leaves us there, their and they’re.
Advertising copy for social media
Is there room for good grammar in social media?
Let me answer that question with another: Is there room for clear communication?
I believe there is. I believe every communication should take advantage of correct usage even if the meaning is relatively clear. And I believe copy can be as precise as it is concise – but there is a point of diminishing return. In the interest of clarity and understanding, don’t cut the meat out of your social media message.
Make room for grammar.
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