Sunday, August 05, 2007


The shorthand can’t be missed. It’s everywhere. Text messaging, instant messages, emails, and message boards are where the most frequent sightings occur. Even if you’re not into the whole texting thing, you see it in commercials and magazine ads. Recently, I read about a 13-year-old Scottish girl who turned in an essay written entirely in SMS shorthand. SMS has a few definitions but let’s go with Short Message Service for simplicity.

Not familiar with it? Keep in mind that I’m not a teenager or an expert in this method of communication. Still, I’ll attempt to provide an example - followed by a translation.

IMHO, SMS does not make me LOL or ROTF. PPL use TLAs & think they’re GR8. 2 me, they’re a PITA. I M sure fans would like 2 tell me, “STFU, MYOB, QYB, and GOYHH.” Grammar is FUBAR, 2. OMG, & WTF s^ w/EWI & PWI? Apparently, I need 2 RTFM, bcuz I dont get it. I may B SOL. FFS, SSEWBA. YMMV. THX 4 listening. CUL8R & TTFN.

In my humble opinion, short message service does not make me laugh out loud or roll on the floor (laughing). People use three letter acronyms and think they’re great. To me, they’re a pain in the ass. I am sure fans would like to tell me, “Shut the fuck up, mind your own business, quit your bitching and get off your high horse.” Grammar is fucked up beyond all recognition, too. Oh, my, God, and what the fuck is up with emailing while intoxicated and posting while intoxicated. Apparently, I need to read the fucking manual because I don’t get it. I may be shit out of luck. For fuck’s sake, someday soon everything will be an acronym. Your mileage may vary. Thanks for listening. See you later and tah-tah for now.

I admit, it’s a poorly written paragraph but it’s just an example.

I’m not an acronym hater. I work in a field where acronyms are everywhere. I don’t have a problem with using a little bit of the shorthand for casual writing. The same thing goes for lazy grammar and punctuation - in some cases.

Here’s where I have a problem. I don’t want to have to decrypt my text messages. I’m an adult, FFS. I don’t think it’s cool. I mean, really, does it take that much longer to type/tap out a few extra letters and use a little bit of punctuation?

When it comes to message boards, blogs and the like, you’re conversing with other people through the written word. Your typed words are the only impression of you that the other people get. It doesn’t have to be formal, MLA-approved writing but when you use incorrect grammar, misspelled words, and inappropriate punctuation, you’re giving the impression that you’re uneducated or that you just don’t care. Of course, if that’s the impression you want to give, fine. Do that. Have fun.

The informal use of the SMS and lousy writing bothers me more than it should but that is my problem. I’m working on keeping my eyes from rolling as much as I can. What really, really bugs the shit out of me is when people take this casual approach to written communication and bring it into the workplace. I have a customer who can’t spell to save his life and who uses the teenage-like shorthand in official business. Um, dude? Spell check is your friend and, while you’re at it, is it really that much harder to type out message than msg? Cancelled, instead of canx?

I’m turning into a curmudgeon.

I’d like to go to a nice restaurant and not see people wearing shorts or hear them shouting. I’d like to fly somewhere and not see people decked out in their most worn-out sweatpants. I’d like to see people be polite and ask to be excused when they bump into you. I’d like for those damned kids to stay off my lawn.

I’d like for people to know the difference between your and you’re. I’d like for them to know the difference between to, too, and two. Is subject/verb agreement that hard?

Am I perfect? Nope. I don’t expect to be, either. I just see us all sliding down that slippery slope. It’s the accepted dumbing down of America where the intellectual folks are ridiculed and not caring is considered cool. It makes me sad.



Nocturnal said...

Personally, I think it's a "cool" trendy thing. Why people spend so much time via text messages when they could call and get it over with in seconds is beyond me.

Fuck that noise.


Ima Wurdibitsch said...

Greetings, Nocturnal. How odd. After I posted this, I was thinking about the trendy aspect of it. I don't know if it's the same for the folks doing it but that SMS paragraph I attempted was hard to write. When people start throwing in numbers for letters, i.e., "3" for "e" and such, it definitely requires more effort than writing something the correct way.

I still don't like it. It's a bastardization of the language. Much like the kids (and some adults) where I live, it's considered "cool" to use words such as "ain't" and to purposefully use incorrect grammar. I tried to tell my kids that doing that, even informally, could become too easy and that when they met people or tried to get a job, using language like that would just happen. It would give the appearance of ignorance even if they were very smart.

Another example: Ebonics. Years ago, I hired a young woman to work for me as an engineering aide. She was bright, articulate, and hardworking. After a few months, she started hanging out with some gals from another department. Not long after, the articulation left and ebonics took over. I don't know if the two are related but the introduction of the relaxed and somewhat sloppy language coincided with a decidedly negative change in her job performance. I don't know if I was more angry or disappointed.

With all of it, it seems too forced. I love seeing the evolution of language over time. The SMS and the redneck-speak and the ebonics it's not a natural evolution. It's a verbal and written revolution. The users revel in their rebelliousness.

What they're rebelling against? Intelligence? Education? The "Man" and his establishment?

Are SMS and slang the sit-ins of this decade?

I love playing with language and have done that a bit with some of the post titles on my other blog. I just wish people would respect our language.

Yes, I realize how uptight that sounds but it's how I feel. Words = communication = connection with others. That deserves some respect.

As for why people don't just call... I don't know, either. I have a few ideas but they're not well-formed yet.

Mrs. Stevens said...

That is so funny. I left a reply to you on my blog before I even came here.

FWIW, I totally agree with you. :P

phishez_rule said...

OMG. I hate people who do that. Except for things like OMG and TMI. but L8R, U, 2, B and THA... all pet hates of mine. I only use them in an sms if I have to cut down letters.

Lucy said...

"Liberal Conservative"? Wouldn't that just make you a Libertarian? You should take this quiz to see where you stand. Let me know what the results are. Who knows? Maybe you'll even change your profile info.

I try to stay away from political/topical jokes in my standup comedy routine. They seems so fleeting!

Ima Wurdibitsch said...

Thanks, Mrs. Stevens!

Phishez, I use OMG, too, and a few of the others but only in casual informal writing. You said, "I only use them in an sms if I have to cut down letters."

Lucy, you're absolutely right about the Libertarian thing. I love how they've embraced the whole personal responsibility thing. I've just become so disgusted with the whole political process that I refuse to identify with any organized party. Libertarians are the closest to getting my allegiance but, right now, there's not a single party or candidate out there who I feel I can get behind.

curmudgeon said...

"I’m turning into a curmudgeon"

So what's wrong with that?

Ima Wurdibitsch said...

Hee!! Not a damn thing! I really think that's a goal to try to attain.

Anonymous said...

...and the Squidinites said, AMEN!"