We are writing more … much more, in fact.
This is an interesting — and counter intuitive — cultural effect caused by social media. While many critics blast the use of constructions like “ur” or “lol,” the truth is that most people not in school rarely wrote at all 10 years ago, the random note to buy more Cheerios notwithstanding. Cards and postcards were simply signed, and personal letters were a rarity. If you wanted to communicate with someone, you picked up a phone … to call … using your voice.
Today we are more likely to type than talk, even if we are using our thumbs quite a bit. So we are writing and being judged by our writing. No, not like your old English teacher judged you, but judged just the same.
I am not talking about private messages or texts between friends. But when you post on Facebook or any number of other platforms it is like public speaking. Here are four rules to follow to help your writing image:
1. Use A Text Editor
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram provide very little in the way of editing tools, plus there seems to be an inherent pressure to post when you are writing in those little boxes.
If I am going to write more than a couple of sentences, I do it in a word processing program and then copy and paste to Facebook. This gives me better tools for writing and takes off some of the pressure.
Three of my favorite programs for this task are Evernote, Google Docs, and Google Keep.
2. Ditch the Abbreviations
Using “2morrow” might work for a teenager, but when I see an adult using “UR” for you’re or “GR8” for great it is kind of like seeing an 80-year-old woman wearing shorts with “Juicy” written on the butt … disturbing and frankly just wrong.
You have no idea who might eventually read your comments, so go ahead and act your age. I make an exception for “lol” and all its variations. Facebook really does need a sarcasm font.
3. Break Up The Text
Your freshman English teacher told you that run on sentences were a no-no and she was right. They are hard to read and difficult to follow.
So use punctuation or line breaks … some method to organize your thoughts when you write. But don’t use ellipses … that’s my thing!
4. Wait to Hit Post
This actually goes along with No. 1 but I thought it was important enough to highlight separately. Never post when you are angry. Go ahead and write because that can be great therapy, but wait at least 30 minutes before deciding to post. This one rule could save you lots of heartache.
Do you have any pet peeves regarding how people write online?