I am not a phone person. I don’t have the attention span to maintain long extended phone conversations. There’s usually too much going on around me for me to focus completely on the discussion at hand. I can do it, but
I’d rather not. So, I embrace the ability to text, instant message, or even email someone in order to get a point across. And I know many others around me do as well, especially the younger generation.
However, there’s one little pet peeve I have about this specific medium: the shorthand. The constant abbreviations, emoticons, and other nonsense people seem to need these days to communicate. I do not want to see you l8r. Nor do I care if u ❤ me or where u r. And I don’t need you to use a hashtag to let me know what the topic at hand is. I’m following the conversation; I know what we’re talking about. And please, for the love of God, use proper punctuation.
I am not sure why this has become so prevalent. Are we all that much in a hurry that we can’t spell out the word “you”? Is it really going to take that much time out of your day to check your spelling? It takes me a lot longer to understand your abbreviations than it does for me to read a straightforward properly written sentence. And I will take you more seriously if you write properly, too. I have written off many people, fairly or unfairly, because of their inability to write a proper email. I appreciate someone who can properly articulate themselves: whether it be a business-related email or just wanting to say hello. I do not claim to be the most technical writer out there, but at least, I know how to convey my thoughts and ideas in a somewhat presentable manner.
And unfortunately, for a generation that has grown up with this being an acceptable form of communication, it has started to creep up in the professional world. I was recently talking to a friend whose firm had just hired recent college graduates. She was relaying to me how several of the new employees needed to be reminded that using text or IM type language in the workplace was not considered professional. It had even made its way into they way the spoke to each other and their managers. (How many times have you actually heard someone say “LOL” out loud in the middle of a conversation? Why not just laugh at the joke? Why not literally laugh out loud? Why must you tell me that is what you are doing?)
Will the impact of this extend to the way we speak? I fear that it might. I fear my younger cousins are less capable of articulating a point while they’re speaking because they are so dependent on others understanding their shorthand. Fortunately, the academic and professional world forces you to pay attention to how you write. And oral presentations are key components to any job, whether you’re presenting a pitch to new clients or rounding at a hospital. But one day, will this erode too? Will we all embrace the shorthand? I sure hope not. Because that would make me unbelievably 😦