As social media continues to explode, a subset of users is frustrating some posters and delighting many others. Viewed as the evil grammar police by their critics, these are the people who take time to point out grammatical and spelling mistakes in their friends’ and associates’ posts. Some of us see them as heroes.
The casual nature of Facebook, Twitter, and whatever social media channel we’ll all be using next month leads many users to take a fairly sloppy approach to communicating. As long as their meaning gets across to their followers, who cares whether it’s spelled correctly or structured properly?
Nobody, if it’s a comment about your Saturday night outing at the local tavern with your buddies. But that same sloppiness is creeping into business-related postings, and yes, that’s a concern for two reasons.
First, typos and misspellings suggest carelessness and imprecision, and those are characteristics most people don’t want in a vendor or business partner. If your post speaks of “air condishoners,” I’m not going to hire you to fix mine. Those “unimportant” mistakes are the written equivalent of showing up to a meeting or waiting on someone at a store counter with a big glob of mustard on your shirt or food residues around your mouth. You may have the finest personal character, but humans react to visual impressions, and no matter how kind or talented you may be, the impression those things present is that you’re a slob.
Second, using the wrong words or incorrect grammar can inject subtle changes in the meaning of your messages, and you may not even realize it. The classic example that circulates around social media is the distinction between “Let’s eat, Grandma!” and “Let’s eat Grandma!” If that isn’t popping out at you, know that one suggests that Grandma is your dinner companion, while the other suggests she’s really the main course.