LOL, IDK and BRB mean more than just “laugh out loud,” “I don’t know,” and “be right back.” They are symbolic of the shortcut to communication many millennials are using in their text messages and emails. But as it turns out, these trendy communicators have little tolerance for spelling and grammar errors.
In an online Harris Poll conducted from July 31 to August 4 of 2015, Dictionary.com reports that responders in the 18-34 year age group were bothered – more than any other age group – by spelling errors on social media.
The study cited the types of misspellings, commonly confused words and grammar rules that bothered respondents of all ages the most.
As a writer, it’s nice to see the value of the written word hasn’t diminished by the shortcuts and abbreviations most of us use today to communicate. In our world where cell phones and tablets are with us 24-7, responding to messages or posting updates has never been faster and easier. We are always reachable, and replying is as quick as a few finger strokes. With that kind of volume, speed, and accessibility we are bound to make mistakes.
Mistakes make an impression about you and your business, so when you are composing or responding on the go to text messages, emails, or messages on social media, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Slow down a little. Devoting a few extra seconds to composing a message isn’t going to take up that much of your life. Editing will go faster if you haven’t made any mistakes to begin with.
- Proofread everything at least once before you send it. Even the shortest texts and emails. Be on the lookout for spelling errors, grammar errors, and words that auto correct guessed wrong. The Internet is full of embarrassing examples of auto correct’s well-intended suggestions that changed the meaning of a message entirely.
- Don’t rely on spell check. It’s a good first line of defense, but it’s not foolproof.
- Read each word individually. This will help you identify words you have left out because you couldn’t type as fast as you were thinking.
- Don’t get comfortable. While texts and emails can’t be retracted, most social media outlets allow you to edit your post or update. Don’t slack off on composing or proofreading because of this. You may not catch the mistake before someone else does.
- Be polite. Don’t forget your manners when you’re in a hurry. An abbreviated “pls” or “thx” for please and thanks goes a long way toward making an impression with your recipient.
Technology is a wonderful thing that allows us to be connected to each other and our customers more than ever before. The study proves that no matter what the age, most people still value accuracy when it comes to the English language. So get back to the basics. Proofread your work, even your shortest and fastest compositions, and make sure your message is received the way you intended it.