Tuesday, 11 March 2014
Two threads on the same topic in different places this morning, and it's time I waffled on about communication again.
There are at least 4 people I see regularly on Facebook, whose writing is so bad that until I got to know them, I assumed English was not their first language. It turns out that it is, and that in fact, all of them have a university education.
I discovered today that Facebook has a spellcheck. Either I didn't know this or it was so long ago I had forgotten. Perhaps a lot of other people don't know this either because I see a lot of errors on there. Or maybe what I'm seeing is just the tip of the iceberg. Maybe it would otherwise be far, far worse.
I get told I fuss too much over this, but these people are all parents, do they have no interest in literacy?
So, let's just say that Facebook entries full of errors don't matter (I don't agree, but for the sake of argument, we'll accept it). What about actual journalism? What about published books? What about business pages online?
What I'm asking is, where do we draw the line? Where can we no longer shrug it off or sneer at those who expect it to be correct and call them pedants?
Twice recently I have been in discussions online, where a response, specifically for me, was so lacking in grammatical construction and punctuation that I couldn't actually decipher it. Having been reamed out quite vociferously as an obnoxious pedant many times, one hesitates to ask for a translation, frankly. I just left the discussion instead.
But this isn't the entire problem, is it? Not only do people not write with any care, they don't read with any care either.
One of my fellow Etsy sellers voiced a common problem. Customers buying patterns thinking they are going to get the finished item instead, and getting angry when it doesn't arrive. Here's the listing:
If the words KNITTING PATTERN and a price of $3.40 with no shipping even offered, doesn't tell you not to expect a bag, you are really not paying attention.
I get a lot of questions that are answered in descriptions, because nobody reads descriptions, but this? Come on.
And at the same time, a discussion is raised about how people should proofread their listings, and we are all told not to be judgemental........
Is this part of the whole "you're all winners!" thing that some children grow up with? This isn't realistic.
If you want to write gibberish on a Facebook status, go right ahead. But if you are publishing or selling, if professionalism is expected or at least useful in a competitive situation, why would you not make the effort ro proofread, or get somebody to do it for you if you know you have a problem?
And if reading comprehension could save you a lot of disappointment, and possibly money, is it not worth taking the time?
WHAT AM I MISSING HERE?