Donald Trump’s regular spelling and punctuation errors on Twitter have provided ongoing fodder for late-night comedians and critics. Many believe it matters when the president makes these mistakes; such blunders tend to damage both his credibility and, some say, the nation’s.
But does it matter when people like you and I make similar errors on social media? Whether caused by typos, so-so writing skills or laziness, social media is filled with sometimes incomprehensible content. For example, a beagle lovers’ Facebook group to which I belong is a regular repository for poorly-written posts and comments including these:
“Just got my Hunter back he home with us now”
“Mine shed alot when they are stressed especially when we go to the vet. They told me that is what it is when they do that when we are there”
“I couldnt Love him more”
In one of my classic car lovers’ groups, these comments were recently posted:
“Breath Taking!! Nice wheels to!!!”
“What a comotion about Fin’s/Taillight’s”
“that car on the far left is a,49 lincoln What gives not 1945 ,sorry”
And to see lots of examples of poor writing, visit political pages on Twitter:
“You must be on drugs or drunk God help us if this one finish without being impeach.”
“its kinda sickening to see.facts are facts peeps.ehat can be wrong with your minds”
“Non of them gave a dime.”
“you have done to be an inspiration too all”
Sometimes it’s even Facebook friends–many of whom are PR people and/or teachers–who make similar mistakes. I’ve seen “your” when they meant “you’re,” “it’s” when it should’ve been “its,” and semicolons where commas should have been (and vice versa).
Should standards be different when the posts are personal? After all, public relations professionals working to reach their online audiences must be very careful to protect their clients’ credibility. But could I be more forgiving when it comes to individuals’ informal messages on social media? Or should proper grammar and punctuation be required of us every time we post as a way to maintain our own credibility? Your thoughts?