Spelling DOES matter

  • /images/angela_july_2012.jpgOver the past few days, I have been watching an increasingly heated exchange on Twitter about whether spelling and grammar on this particular social media platform really matter.

    Some in the camp insist that Twitter is an immediate form of communication - so people reply in haste and don't always have the time to correct their spellings.  What really matters, they argue, is that they've got their point across.  They are feeling passionate about something and are typing quickly to keep up with the conversation - so don't break their train of thought to point out their poor use of grammar.

    Others, though, get very wound up about everything being done properly and in the middle of a heated discussion, will point out that an apostrophe is in the wrong place. They argue that just because there are new ways of communicating, we shouldn't forget the basic rules.

    If you are a brand or a company using social media to engage with your customers, then you should apply the same high standards of grammar across all of your marketing platforms.  Sending tweets with typos might not worry some potential customers, but it may alienate others completely.  If a company is sloppy with its tweets, what will its customer service be like and what does it say for its credibility?  If you want to get your point across, spelling and grammar matter.

    If you are simply tweeting as ‘you', then still remember that what you are writing is in the public domain and has your name attached to it.  In any case, even if you are tweeting as ‘you', your personal brand is still important.  You might, for instance, be looking for a new job and prospective employers could be reading your tweets.  Alternatively, a prospective client might be doing a little research before signing up for your services.

    sotp signTwitter is certainly a more relaxed and conversational way of communicating - it is also governed by a 140 character count.  I would argue that you don't always need to use complete sentences, but the grammar still needs to be correct.  For example, capital letters should be used in the right places and apostrophes used correctly.  Although the majority of us are used to using text speak for texts - keep it for texts.

    If you've written a fantastic blog, then you've probably spent ages checking the spelling and punctuation - so, when you're distributing it via your chosen social media platforms, including Twitter, check that your tweet reflects the time you've put into that blog. Take time before publishing to ensure accuracy and good judgement.  Read it once and read it again before sending.  Consider how many people may not even bother reading your piece because you've written: ‘Please read my blog, your (sic) going to love it!'

    While spelling mistakes and poor grammar can be brushed off as ‘being rushed', ‘only a typo' or ‘the way everyone else says it' - it's your, or your company's, reputation on the line.

    Grammar does matter.  In the world of social media - you're not physically standing in front of somebody.  They can't see your smart clothes and the confident way you present yourself.  The only way you can make an impression is to present yourself through your writing and, in the virtual world, as in the real world, first impressions count.

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