First Facebook, next your skin

Tomorrow is my birthday, so as I prepare to turn one year older I think I am entitled to an old lady moan. So what is the fuel for this rant? Incorrect grammar and spelling on social media (oh and by the way, I’m turning 25 and not 85 as it may sound).

So, are social media partly to blame for the increase of the incorrect use of ‘there’ instead of ‘they’re’ or ‘their’ and ‘to’ instead of ‘too’? Or are people just becoming lazy?

I believe it has always been an issue with people from Britain, some go abroad and just speak English, expecting everyone else in the world to speak English too. There seems little desire to speak another language and now there seems to be little effort to even speak our own language properly.

Translation: I'm looking forward to my Sunday dinner

As I grew up mobile phones started to infiltrate our daily lives. When I got my first mobile phone I quickly adapted text speak such as ‘how r u?’, it made sense as I had to keep messages within a certain number of characters or it would cost twice as much (every penny counts when you’re 13). But why do we still speak phonetically in our conversions? Does it really save that much time? I recently changed from my iPhone to the Samsung Galaxy s2 and now use Swype to write my texts and emails. This feature encourages correct spelling because if you misspell then you will probably being presented with a different word entirely.

As more and more of us use computers in our jobs, it isn’t worth using ‘text speak’ when writing in emails or on social media as we would have to change back to ‘proper language’ when writing formal work emails and documentation. So I think society could be on the verge of going one of two ways; firstly the correction of spelling and grammar could just become less and less of a priority and mistakes in formal text could just be overlooked and not corrected which is an issue, after all we learn from our mistakes, don’t we? Or secondly, we realise the problem in hand and reiterate the importance of correct spelling and grammar in schools.

Maybe I am just being overly fastidious. I know social media is about real time messaging, so a Facebook post written on the bus could easily have mistakes, but these mistakes are exactly that, accidental mistakes. My issue is with lack of knowledge in how to speak our native language, or pure laziness. The omission of punctuation I can live with, even the misuse of exclamation marks instead of questions marks and vice versa.

It seems that the reality TV culture that we have adopted is increasing the idea that it is cool to be a bit thick and ditsy. A prime example came from the late Jade Goody in 2002 where she uttered an array of stupid questions and statements; “Where is East Angular, is it abroad?” and “Saddam Hussein – that’s a boxer”. The general public grew to love Jade and her stupidity. I don’t for one second think that she was a bad person, but her lack of general knowledge and bad speech was simply worrying as she isn’t alone. Now we are surrounded by this culture with programmes such as The Only way is Essex and Made in Chelsea; thick sounding bimbos that can’t speak properly and have less common sense than my pet cat (who died 8 years ago), but is how to be cool these days apparently.

Quite simply I have just seen one too many Facebook status updates with very simple mistakes. It may be laziness or it may be stupidity but it shouldn’t be happening. Are social media reinforcing this? Should we have spell check on our status updates? No, we should just learn how to spell!

Errors in typing are fine, these are easily spotted and not the same as the mistakes I am talking about. It does appear to be more of an issue on my Facebook than Twitter. The reason for this could be that my Facebook friends are overall a younger generation, many of which are friends from school. Are the youth of today (I am cringing at using that phrase) not being taught English properly at school? Or are they just lazy and simply don’t care?

Social media are here to make our lives easier and more social, it is up to us how we use these tools. We don’t need to be spoon fed how to spell words or prompted when we are using ‘there’ instead of ‘they’re’, we should know for ourselves and if we really don’t know then find out the answer for ourselves then we are far more likely to remember it.

Do you agree or think that the rules of spelling and grammar can be more relaxed online?