Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Errata is the Plural of Erratum, Good Sir

Down (and to the right) at Poynter. org, this question is tossed at Joe Grimm at Ask the Recruiter.

Without getting into specifics, I would like to know your position on Twitter (as well as blog entries) and the seemingly acceptable practice of misspelling words and using poor grammar in tweets. Recently, I was told by someone who oversees a company's social-networking efforts that "Nobody expects anyone to apply AP style to updates on Twitter. In fact, using AP style within discussion-oriented social networks is roundly discouraged. Also, it is generally accepted that there are errors within updates due to the speedy (and often experimental) nature of the platform."

Grimm replies:

This raises a fundamental issue. Each new tool we get is just that -- another way to communicate or network. When people started writing blogs, a ridiculous argument broke out about whether blogs were news. The answer, as people now see, is in the message, not in the medium. People can appear to be intelligent or ignorant, accurate or sloppy, formal or casual in any medium. -- snip -- Using shorthand or being sloppy is not cool, and acting that way to appear cool is a turnoff. Speed can breed mistakes in these mediums, of course, but the always-on nature of them also means you can always take an extra minute to get things right without missing a press start. Show your readers some respect by taking the time to be correct.

I more or less agree, though when you are cranking out the verbiage, sometimes things like capital letters do drop by the wayside. However, sloppiness can become an affectation. It's like very short email answers: a reflection of a busy life or an attempt to subtly diss the recipient of your email?

That's all I have to say. No punchline TK.

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