When’s the last time you used ‘LOL’ or ‘BRB’ in a formal work email? How about putting every single word in lower case for a PowerPoint presentation?
Do you abbreviate as often as possible when communicating with your boss – you know, to save space a la Twitter?
Of course you don’t.
But according to two recent studies, texting and online chatting are taking their toll on our grammar. A report in June found that texting has worsened our writing on the job. And a second study released just this week says mobile communication is now eroding the language skills of children ages 10-14.
S. Shyam Sundar, an academic who conducted the children’s study for the Media Effects Research Lab at Penn State, says his findings are ‘correlational’ and not ‘causal.’
That means Sundar sees a trend between a rise in texting and poor grammar but can’t prove it.
That’s probably because the effect of texting on our culture is overstated.
The simple act of texting isn’t the problem. The real issue is knowing when it’s appropriate to use texting/online lingo.
Like I alluded to at the top, most of us know when it’s acceptable to drop a ‘L8R’ into a text/Gchat.
If you’re over the age of 13, the answer is never
In grade school, I would hope that teachers nowadays are quick to correct any student who starts using texting phrases in book reports and class presentations.
In the workplace, the onus is on young professionals. If they have abbreviations all over the page, it’s not because Twitter and text messages corroded their brains. It’s because they didn’t know that phrases like ‘TTYL’ have no place in an office setting.
Competent writers know how to flip a switch between nonchalant Gchat conversations full of ‘JKs’ and ‘OMGs’ and proper emails intended for clients and co-workers.
Using the texting craze as an excuse for poor grammar is a cop-out.
If you’re e-mailing with the boss, keep it prim and proper. If it’s a casual chit-chat, drop some lingo.
Texting has forever influenced the way we communicate, but we still control the words that go on the page.
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