Sunday, April 1, 2007

Spelling... important writing tool or the next victim of the Digital Age?

I was reading another blog on The Orlando Senitnel's Web site the other day and came across an interesting entry by a reporter that was covering the Central Florida Spelling Bee that really struck me. Aside from having to cover what some would consider the most boring event on the face of the Earth, the reporter had come across an interesting phenomenon in the process. They write: "Do e-mail and text messaging and all the shorthand they [students] create to make spelling seem unnecessary? Does spelling still count?"

The writing in me wants to say yes, but the digital natives proudly screams, "HECK no!"

Why the dichotomy? Well, I relate back to my own conversations on programs like AIM or Yahoo! Messenger... do I follow proper grammar and diction when chatting? No. Do I catch myself slipping into AIM shorthand when writing papers for class? Yes.

Uh oh.

Have we given up on proper writing or is it time for the wizzes that make the English grammar rules to catch up with the times and make "lol" and "jk" words? Maybe it's a combination of both that needs to happen.

While the old-fuddy-duddys that have been teaching English courses for decades still support the traditional writing habits, their students are creating new ones to meet the demands of the times. Let's face it, many of these old-school professors and instructors can't even tell you what AIM stands for, much less run the damn program. So who are they to set the rules for mechanics in the Digital Age?

My point exactly.

Some responses to the reporter's blog:
From Anonymous: "I know that when my recently promoted boss sent an e-mail which included the word "2day" instead of "today," it only demonstrated how dumb and unfit she is for the position."

Harsh, but Anonymous is probably a digital immigrant.

Another response: "B4 I go on, lemme say 2 yoo, lol, brb, ismee, hola, lol, rol, imo, kenu, cuz, :-), }:(, bfn"

Most likely a digital native.

See, there's a disparity between generations now on what's acceptable writing. Personally, I think in a professional setting proper grammar is still the preferred method; however, I think inter-office e-mails and IMs should leave room for the new wave of communications: Digispeak.

The link to the blog is:

1 comment:

Brooke Seidman said...

It's amazing how we don't even realize that we tend to think in "digispeak" now rather than "proper" English.
I think there has to be some set standards put into place. Obviously you wouldn't use "digispeak" when writing your resume or interviewing for a job. It should not be used in the workplace. I also am annoyed when people say "lol" or "jk" in personal or telephone conversations. Those are abbreviations for words and should only be used in online environments.
As for emails and AIM, "digispeak" is fine, unless you are doing something professional. People just need to be smart and recognize their audience to determine the best ways to communicate with them.

-Brooke :)