Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Plz dnt h8 my skillz, or, Why Text Messaging is Ruining Us

I admit, I am a texter. I only have about four or five people that I do text, but it happens. Now I'm not textually savvy (yes, I just made up that word), nor do I spend more time texting than talking. But I guess if I had to, I could get by with just texting.

As a m@r of fact, Iv lrnD 2rite a bit n txt lingo. Iv gotten btr @ it as tym hs gon on.
(thanks to the wonderful text-message translator at www.lingo2word.com, I was able to translate "As a matter of fact, I've learned 2rite a bit in text lingo. I've gotten better at it as time has gone on." Don't ask me how that translates. I seriously have no clue.)

Yet something happened today at the reading center that made me wonder if the age of AIM, MSN, Chatrooms, SMS text messaging, people cranking out love notes on their Sidekick and people cranking out novels on their BlackBerry has gotten a bit out of control.

A girl came into the reading center today for her writing class. She talked with a tutor about her note taking methods, especially how she plans out her papers. As he looked (according to him), it was written entirely in text-lingo.

"Please" was spelled "plz."
"Hate" was spelled "h8."
"Later" was spelled "L8er"
Something that was intended to be humorous was exclimated with a "LOL"
and like such as the Iraq etc etc.

Does anyone else see issues with this? I know that the common cry right now of "Microsoft Word is destroying our childrens ability to spell" (which I do not submit to), but I think that this is the issue we should be looking at.

Perhaps in my older age I've become more of a stickler for spelling, but I've never been a bad speller. Heck, I can remember being 14 years old, sending my dad an email at work asking him a question, and being verbally embarrassed because he ripped my email apart. My spelling wasn't correct, my grammar wasn't very good, and like such as etc etc. For some reason, I never forgot that. It always stuck with me. Probably because I never wanted to feel self-conscious about emailing him ever again, but still, it stuck with me.

Call me an email elitist. I'm OK with that. Actually, now that I've had a chance to be in business and professional situations which entail email correspondance, I'm actually suprised sometimes at how...um...well, forgive me for being blunt, but how stupid people can sound.

So let's get back to the issue at hand...text talk...txt lingo...like such as the Iraq...whatever you want to call it. While she was using it for her notes, it makes me worried. I don't take notes by hand if I don't have to. I've noticed that I can take notes a lot faster by typing. I've been doing it long enough where I know how to indent correctly, and I have MS Word translate my shorthand into real words. But when I look at my notes later, they would not only make sense to me, but to others around me. And I will go out on a limb, and say that while note-taking shouldn't be full sentences and ready to turn in, but it should be readable. I'm a tutor. I work with this all day.

The big picture: This isn't a pandemic, epidemic, or plague, like such as the Iraq South Africa the Bubonic plague or measels. But it does give me cause for concern. Like hip-hop lingo has taken the United States by storm (in the worst way possible), I'm worried about that with text lingo. Like, such as, the Iraq, South Africa (I think it's getting funnier the more I reference it).

Stop it. Stop texting and sounding like a fool. Put REAL words together, not gobbly-gook. I shouldn't need to go to a text-language translator to decypher what you are typing. And when 2020 comes, and we wonder why we have gone back to cave-man grunts and pointing, you just remember that I said that this would happen.

US Americans (like there'd be any others?) like such as the Iraq South Africa

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