Standing On My Soapbox: The Downside to Technology

The last post on my old blog (11/220/09)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or you’re my friend, E, who refuses to succumb to social media and she’s in the IT field. She’s had Gmail since 2004!), you’re probably on Facebook or Twitter. Maybe both (like me). I love social media and what it’s done for our world. Even better, I love what it’s done for me. Without blogs, Facebook and Twitter, I wouldn’t have connected with such great writers, editors and bloggers. These blogs and articles make me think in a different way and they also help pass time at work on a boring day.

Now, on to the bad stuff.

For every intelligent, rational, understanding, respectful person who has a blog, FB or Twitter profile, there are atleast 100 dumb, irrational, disrespectful people who have them, too. In other words, social media has only made it even clearer than before that the country is running rampant with idiots. I meant that in the most loving way possible.

I won’t talk about how some “celebrities” are passing their ignorance and foolishness on to their young and impressionalbe followers. That’s a post for another day. Let’s start at the bottom and work our way up. This is going to sound harsh and maybe intellectually snobbish. Well, dammit, it is. The misspellings are out of control. The incorrect grammar is out of control. The incorrect use of words is out of control. It’s killing me softly.

By your profile, you’re a successful attorney or business tycoon, but your posts make it obvious that you skipped out on the weekly spelling tests in second and third grade. Yeah, I hear you–spelling is not and never was one of your strong suits. Math isn’t mine (I hate it), so I make sure I don’t have to do anything before a large audience that requires a quadratic equation. And I KEEP a calculator with me.

Here’s another excuse I hear often: Why do I need to spellcheck? Don’t call me out. It’s only Facebook/Twitter. It’s not that serious.

That may be true, but suppose a prospective client, mentor or suitor read your profile? It could be a major turn-off for them. Unfortunately, the only things that get us through the door are our appearance, speech and writing abilities (for the most part). If you write the way you speak, Houston, we have a problem.

These are some common mistakes I see:

Using “there”, instead of “their”
Using “where”, instead of “we’re” (this is a contraction for we are)
Using “tooken”, instead of “taken”
Using “you’re”, instead of “your”
Using text language in anything other than a text message.

While I’m thinking about it, somebody, please tell me what the hell this is!

Miss XYZ feels like im n dis all along.

This status update is from a 19-year-old. This is not a text message, nor a Tweet where the characters are limited. Can you believe that kids really don’t know that “what” is spelled with an “h”? When I read status update from some 21 and unders, I feel like I’m reading a chapter from Push. Why don’t they know better?

Check out some tweets from the other day:

Abelleinbk: reading some of the responses to my Bey post makes me scared for the youth. the education system in this country really is a joke

@abelleinbk
Don’t even get me started! I’m convinced that our youth are just plain dumb. Harsh, but real. I blame tech, parents & schools

That’s the way I feel. What’s even worse is adults have fallen into the trap, too. Here’s a link posted on Facebook by a friend: Shouldn’t Have Given You Twitter: Mary J. Blige

So sad…My girl is getting clowned. Okay, okay, her job is to sing, not write, right? Yes, but when we do things in a public setting, we’re open to any and all criticisms. This further proves my point that we must learn to stick to our gifts and talents. I know Twitter has given artists more authority to handle their own PR, but these practitioners and consultants need to step in immediately.

Yet another classic example: As if we didn’t already know, R. Kelly is illiterate. Taken from NBCChicago.com . Try not to laugh at the title–just wrong!

“When I was trying to make it out here, I already knew, and I was stubborn about it,” he said. “I don’t even read really and I’m not afraid to say that. My cousins and brothers used to tease me ‘you can’t even read right. How you think you’re going to come up?’ The only reason I graduated from grammar school is because I had a great jump shot. I went to high school and [my teacher] told me ‘you will one of the greatest writers of all time.’ I believed. You [have to] believe it. You can’t believe [anything] if you’re hating. You can’t achieve [anything] if you’re hating.”

The issue is not him being illiterate. There are millions of functioning illiterates walking around. It’s not even him admitting it without shame. It is what is is. However, it doesn’t have to be. Dude is settling for being illiterate based on the fact that he’s a talented (gifted) writer and producer. I guarantee if he was reduced to flipping burgers and dropping fries, he’d be in somebody’s school then. Regardless of the money and fame, he needs to get a GED. Learn how to read and spell because his lyrics are a dead giveaway that something ain’t right. It’s equivalent to a star athlete skipping school and tests because his jumpshot will carry him. With one injury, he’s back in the real world with regular folks and dumb as hell. There’s nothing worse than an old fool.

The moral of the story is this: Read, don’t settle for mediocrity and get help if you think (know) you need it.

***Stepping off my soapbox, but I will return

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