TextingHave you ever received a message from someone similar to this…

“smh fwiw imho thats nagi bff yall shud tlk f2f bout the prblm lmk how it goes ill stay up jic u need 2 tlk”

And just sat there and stared at it for a few minutes because you have absolutely no idea what it meant? I have. And the sad thing is, I’ve been told that teachers have had to grade papers with this on there. Not me, if I was a teacher, the paper will get an instant fail. Even though, if you translate the message it readers.

“Shaking my head, for what it’s work, in my honest opinion, that’s not a good idea best friend. You all should talk face to face about the problem. Let me know how it goes, I’ll stay up just in case you need to talk.”

That is actually great advice! But to me, when I first read it, they might as well have sent it in Hebrew because I understand that about as much as I understood what was originally sent.

I’m going to take a break this week from the Writing a Book series to talk about writing improvements. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. And one thing my Uncle taught me was to always practice good writing habits such as writing complete sentences, proper grammar, using punctuation in any form of writing.

I tell my sister, that when she text messages me, she has to use English. I’m not old, but I’m not young enough to really comprehend (lml wyd idc rotl) without using some texting dictionary. But it’s not because I can’t comprehend that, because all you have to do is ask what the acronym stands for and you’ll forever remember it. It’s because I don’t want her to turn in a paper in high school that reads:

U r goin thru sumtn bad rite now. (Which is a fragment, and wrong tense used but that’s beside the point.)

I’m not sure how many teachers I have reading my blog at the moment, but I’m sure that some of them have seen papers with something like that on it. So I have my sister at least write good sentences with me. When I text, I can’t help but go back and edit what I text before sending it, if you text me at all, you’ll notice that I start with proper capitalization, I don’t normally use short words, and I have punctuation.

Not saying that if you do use short hand texting, it’s a bad thing. I just feel like the more your practice something, the more natural it feels and sometimes you may write something and completely forget that it’s to your boss, or to an employee, a student, or to customers. So be careful how you write!

I used to work at a job where my boss’ boss wrote shorthanded through e-mails. Through was thru, you was u, amongst other things and it drove me crazy. We are professionals and I’m your subordinate, I feel that it’s not very businesslike to write like that to your employees and expect them to take you seriously.

Remember, this is just my opinion. But I believe that practicing good writing habits is essential to communication. In writing  communication, it’s hard enough to see the tone of the message itself, it’s even harder when there’s no punctuation, smiley faces, or something to say “Hey I’m being sarcastic” or “Hey, I’m serious” or “Hey, I’m just playing”

I once had an interview on a website where I was asked to give advice for young aspiring writers. I said “Practice good writing habits, none of that texting short word stuff. Write correctly, speak correctly and don’t be afraid to be smart. Let your imagination run wild. Read, read, read, read, and read some more. All sorts of authors, history, current, fiction, non-fiction, and study while you write… And beyond anything, just believe in yourself, believe in your talents, and believe in your worlds, and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.” (Read the entire interview here).

And I still stand by those words!

How many of you have gotten mixed messages from a written message that was ambiguously worded?

Tell me here! Or e-mail me at admin@vensingray.net the best ones will be featured!