posted on May, 15 2011 @ 07:20 PM
I think that this is a great thread, Fixer, and that everyone has contributed interesting ideas and hypotheses on why this is happening. I, too,
always considered myself to be proficient at spelling and in the use of proper grammar and probably developed these skills from the vast number of
books I read when I was young, but it was a different world back then. I find that the majority of mistakes I make these days are attributable to my
own typing skills and the problems I've been experiencing have less to do with the quality of these "hard" skills, per se, and more with my ability
to express my thoughts in a short and concise manner. The older I get, the more words I need to use to fully make my point. This is a problem in
today's fast paced world since it takes more time for me to edit something down than it takes to type out the original text. Also, I definitely
think that there's a generational difference in the way one writes. I say this not as a criticism but as an opinion based on what I've personally
observed. I used to be the manager of a department in a large company and had anywhere from 20-30 staff members under my purview ranging in age from
those in their early 20's to others in their Baby Boomer years. The differences I saw in their written communication skills were significant and I
came to my own conclusions as to why this was so.
Firstly, multitasking in today's world translates to something very different than when I was in my early 20's. The emphasis today is on getting as
many simultaneous things done as quickly as possible and though I don't want to stop typing to find a link to where I saw this, I once read an
article that described how the brain of today's younger generation(s) actually develops and looks slightly different than those of older generations.
This was caused by our natural process of adaptation to the increased amount of stimuli simultaneously being filtered and processed. My young
daughter has even told me that she functions and retains data better when processing multiple stimuli at the same time (i.e. doing her homework while
listening to her IPod and intermittently texting with her friends). Since she gets decent grades and is happy with her way of communicating, who am I
to question this??
Secondly, in their rush to get all of these things done quickly and function within the communication norms of their own generation, certain short
cuts have become adopted as the new norm (I see this whenever I get a text message from her where she'll type "u" instead of "you" or "R u going
2 the movies 2nite?"). This probably originated from being limited in the number of characters one can use in any given text message, but there's a
principle in cognitive behavioral psychology which says that you can replace one automatic thought (or behavior) with a different one by consistently
catching yourself when the original automatic thought occurs and replacing it with the new one over a long enough period of time (someone once told me
that it takes 21 days for the brain to integrate a change in automatic thinking, but I never saw any verification of this). I believe the same holds
true in the opposite context and if you're exposed to a different spelling of a word or a different form of communicating over and over again, why
wouldn't this become the new automatic process?
So, that leads to the question of which is right and which is wrong as posed by some in this thread. I think it depends on the situation, environment
and individuals involved in the communication being exchanged. I don't feel it's indicative of a person's level of intelligence and some of the
smartest people I know possess terrible spelling skills for a variety of reasons; I agree with the previous poster who said that anyone who judges or
devalues another based solely on this factor is guilty of snobbery. With that said, I also believe that it's important to use proper spelling and
grammar in an academic setting where you're going to be graded on the correctness of these skills, or in the corporate environment because, whether
we like it or not, the recipient is going to form a subconscious impression of both the writer and the organization he/she represents based on his/her
written communication skills and if a company doesn't feel you're representing them in a positive light, you won't have that job for very long (why
else would most job ads list "excellent written and oral communication skills" as a necessary qualification for employment?). Of course, that can
cut both ways and if you work in an industry largely owned and populated by the younger generation, a more formal style of writing can be viewed as a
detriment. These are just a few of my own personal opinions. I warned everyone that it would be long-winded and appreciate anyone who took the time
to read through it.