“Hey,” your email starts, “what did i miss in class today? lol thx”
Simple enough. The message, you tell yourself, is polite and brief. You know how busy people are these days and don’t want to take up more time than necessary.
However, you overlook one thing: You’re interacting with your professor, and the email you may see as harmless will probably be perceived as disrespectful and grammatically appalling.
Associate news editor Tim Lyman examines the conflict between Internet and proper English this week in “Internet English vs. proper English.”
The article features an interview with Plattsburgh State Communication Studies Assistant Professor Stephen DiDomenico, who mentions the disconnect between how people speak and how they write.
“DiDomenico said he has noticed that because socialmedia platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are ‘omnipresent’ in daily life,” Lyman writes, “it is important for him to look at — and share with students — reasons for communication, such as writing an essay, that he said warrant an academic tone, or ‘register.’”
DiDomenico has a point. With our constant use of social media — where, let’s be honest, we tend to use less-thanideal vocabulary and grammar — the poor habits we pick up appear to be negatively reinforced, sometimes disabling us from recognizing when and where specific lingo is appropriate.
“‘It is a little bit confusing because if you’re constantly, throughout your day, typing and ‘speaking’ through these platforms, you may forget there are these really important boundaries,’” DiDomenico tells Lyman.
It would be ridiculous to encourage decreased social media use because, as parents and professors love to point out, we’re pretty much obsessed with our phones and constantly being plugged in. It would also be pointless to push for near-perfect grammar on all social media platforms. It just won’t happen.
So how can we combat this conflict? The solution is simple, really.
We are always looking for the quickest way to class or the fastest Internet connection, we urge you to see the importance in taking your time. Though you may not see the point in your professor’s insistence on six-page research papers, being able to communicate effectively through writing is an important life skill that we on Cardinal Points can certainly attest to.
A simple spellcheck or reading aloud before pressing “send” can go a long way, and if you remember to do so, you will, too.