Saturday, April 11, 2015

How online communication changes communication

From my very unscientific observations, I've concluded that abbreviations are no longer acceptable on social media or texting. In fact, abbreves are now "shibboleths"– a fancy way of saying people will judge you for using them. 

TTYL8R and G2G are archaic. They were acceptable when people used T-9 word on Razr cellphones in 2006, but in 2015, there's simply no excuse. Some may argue "lol" is an abbreviation for "laugh out loud," which I will concede they're correct. But it's function is different. "Lol" functions like a smiley face emoticon, helping readers understand the tone of a sentence that could perhaps be interpreted as too serious or overly literal. And other practices of abbreviation, like shortening sentences by deleting verbs and subjects, are no longer acceptable. 

In 2015, text messages, Facebook comments, etc, should all be written in complete prose, but interestingly, a few people still use the language of 2006 T-9 word. I read the following comment on my Facebook this morning: 

Do not watch BBC news anymore due to bias

There are many problems with this comment. 

1) The subject "I" is missing, which makes the writer's message unclear. Is it a statement or command? In other words, is she not watching the BBC or is she commanding me to not watch the BBC? 

2) Likewise, "due to bias" could be referring to the news network's bias or her own bias. Is she biased about news networks, or does she think BBC news delivers biased news? I assume that she believes the network is biased – but still, it's unclear. 

3) Her statement is unsupported. Yes, she didn't have enough time to include the subject of the sentence, so of course she wasn't going to offer any supporting claims. But that would've strengthened her argument. 

4) It doesn't have punctuation. Periods and commas are essential in written communication whether it's online, offline or on paper. Punctuation helps readers navigate the written word. So unless you're E.E. Cummings, I'll expect periods. 

In 2015, her Facebook comment should appear: 

I do not watch BBC news anymore due to the network's bias. 

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