Saturday, April 12, 2008

generational differences - why blogging has typos and emails can be in lower case

since we have a lot of people who are new to blogs who have joined us lately (some really hip older people) i thought that i would explain the nature of blogging

you see in blogging, it is important to blog nearly every day

this leads the blogger to write at unexpected times, in short snatches of time wherever they may be found

because of this blogging is meant to be a bit raw not an essay

so you will often find in blogs ttypos and spelling mstakes and runon thoughts

for those of you who get my blog by email, you get it raw and the first draft. but i will often go back and correct some mistakes that are glaring because i was a senior in college when al gore invented the internet. if i had grown up later though i not care i suppose

you can also find a lot of email today without capitalization. i remember first noting this in one of brian mclaren's books in which he printed in his book actual email correspondence with young adults, and they were lower case and had some typos i thought, what is this? this movement has only increased with the advent of texting

okay if this style of writing has bugged you then you are probably not a millenial you are a gen xer like me or above

after this i will probably continue to write with capitalization though if i start submitting my blog articles through my blackberry then i don't know putting in those caps on those messages is rather annoying

what do you think of the new styles of writing? is it more important to communicate quickly and on the fly and therefore have more communication, or is it better to have less and have it checked and edited before it is sent out?


Deneen said...


James said...


Glad you liked this post! Here is a wikipedia article on "lol" (laugh out loud). This article also highlights the controversy surrounding the change in communication that has been brought about by email and texting. Some think that this is absolutely horrible, while others think that it is fine.

One thing that the article does point out is that young people ought to be warned that most employers today still are looking for good grammar, capitalization, correct spelling, and communication without a lot of acronyms.

Marc & Kim Vasquez said...

I work in public relations and while I know things have moved to casual when it comes to personal emails or blogging, I still don't like it.

To me it seems like another chink in the armor of grammar and structure. We didn't learn proper grammar so we could use it some of the time or most of the time.

I would even go as far to say as it comes off lazy. I'm sure that will get me some flack, but if you're going to take the time to write something, you may as well do it so it comes across that you wanted to do it right.

My dad used to tell me, "Marc, anything worth doing is worth doing right."

Kevin said...

Been enjoying your blog. Just to add my two cents to the conversation. I see blogging IM and casual email as more of a conversation and as such it is a communication style prone to casual grammar mistakes as we make in conversation with friends. When talking with friends I'm constantly prone to making up words and stumbling over my tongue. Also as a casual communication style it's nice to free form and not constantly re-check grammar and punctuation, which can take some of the spontaneity out of writing. It gives the conversation (err blog) a more personal touch. At the work place email I send and receive is tough to gauge sometimes as "tone" is impossible to imply in formal communication. I have often received emails and taken the tone as critical when the person sending it is just trying to be precise and formal. Blogging is a refreshing change of pace as it has an informal air that feels authentic and that is what I look for in a blog. Authenticity is a major point in what makes a blog good for me.

I agree with Marc about doing things well or not doing them at all, I just think that blogging with spelling and grammar mistakes is doing a blog well. Too formal of a blog is to my personal tastes stale and lacking in personality.

Thanks for all you are doing and keep up the updates.

Kevin Moses

Anonymous said...


I cringe at the poor grammar and spelling when people are texting. It is generational and probably inevitable like many things. However, it is still not acceptable in most business settings. I really to enjoy your blog.


James said...

Marc and Bill,

I understand your feelings. I would think that upholding a higher standard for work correspondence, at least for a time, would be reasonable. As more and more people go to Blackberrys, however, I wonder if this will change. When typing an email, it really doesn't take a lot more effort to put in capitalization. However, I just recently got a Blackberry (actually, a Blackjack), and it takes a long time to write out long, precise messages. Usually, I will wait until I can get to a computer if I need to write this type of message so that I can keep up the quality. But I wonder whether the next generation, even in business, will do the same. It is one of those changes that is probably inevitable, as you say.

James said...


So glad that you have joined us, and that you like the blog! You are asute in pointing out what is often felt by younger generations--that informality and casualness is often viewed to be authentic and refreshing. It is why having some roughness in a logo or design tells younger generations, "we understand you." (Note the rough edges in our church web page -

For instance, in order to get past the formal cliches of prayers, younger people will often say in a prayer "Lord, we just wanna . . . " Ironically, this can become yet another cliche.

If we want to connect with people today, we need to at least recognize these trends and be aware of them, even if we do not entirely accept them. If I were to submit blog posts each time that were formal treatises, few would read it. And I love good writing! (Sometimes I sneak a few in, however.) Blogs should have at least some informal and personal character if they are going to connect. People can read text books. They want personal insights.

Preaching has been described as the word of God proclaimed throught the force of personality. Blogs are information through the force of personality.

Great insight, Kevin.

Tara said...

I agree that conversational blogging (not worrying too much about perfect grammar, etc.) is perfectly fine. However, it is unfortunate that MUCH can be lost...too many punctuation errors make it difficult for the reader to follow. For example, I had to go back and reread several sentences in the blog because they didn't make sense to me the first time. But I know you were trying to make a point by not using any capitalization, etc.

I guess as an English major and writing minor (emphasis in studies on linguistics and technical writing), these are things you don't miss.

**** Most people may wonder WHY in the world ANYONE would think such in-depth proofreading is necessary. ****

TAKE THE CASE OF THE 16 MILLION DOLLAR COMMA. (I'm sure legal students hear about this one, just like English/writing students do.)

I never remember the math exactly, but this really happened. I may just get the numbers wrong:

There was a will where $64 Million was being given to several decendants. Because the will read that this money should go in equal shares to "Tom, Rick, Fred and Bill," (note NO comma after "Fred"), the money was divided into THREE parts, as if Fred and Bill were a group or an entity.

Tom got a third, Rick got a third, and Fred and Bill had to SPLIT a third, therefore each receiving 1/6. I'm sure Fred and Bill would have each been happier with 1/4 than 1/6. Especially when their cousins (or whomever exactly Tom and Rick were) each got 1/3. (btw - Those are fictitious names. College was close to 20 years I've long since forgotten the real names.)

It was argued and argued whether the person writing the will meant for it to be divided into FOUR equal parts instead of THREE...but either Tom or Rick must have had slicker lawyers than the other guys, because they won.

The person writing the will, if they DID mean for it to be 4 equal shares, could have avoided the whole problem by putting a comma after "Fred." Then it would have been clear that the equal shares should have gone to the 4 separate people equally.

So, while I think it is OK to text and blog very informally, you need to be ABLE to write formally when necessary. It is very common for someone to be misunderstood because either their grammar, or punctuation, or both were not proper enough. Unfortunately, so many people today see grammar, spelling, and punctuation as unnecessary skills.

Ask Fred and Bill how necessary they are.

Linda Hardin said...

James, I guess this means I don't need to correct your spelling anymore. You're on your own. :)

Linda H.