Text speak gives you social diseases

I hate it when people write in text speak in their emails and other correspondence. "U go 4 it" or "cuz U haz dat" is not proper English. I refuse to be a part of the annihilation of the written word and, as such, won't use lazy text speak. (If you've ever heard Peter Shankman present, he frequently shares the story of how he turned down a job applicant because she closed her cover letter with "4 U" instead of for you.)  Considering this kind of language makes my eye twitch and my lip quiver, I was delighted when Esta Singer tweeted me the image below (credit to the original tweeters @venessapaech and @sbadsgood):

Wow. If that doesn't say oodles about people who can't make the effort to write out the word "you," I don't know what does. Isn't it just downright amazing how writing "an individual" changes those search results? And, I didn't take this graphic as fact. I tested it myself and the results are authentic. Those who write "u" are riddled with a plethora of search results about social diseases.

Whether you're a 45-year-old professional, or just out of college, language matters. And, how you communicate tells complete strangers a lot about you. Don't take the lazy way out; use the proper word in the proper way. Anyone who writes "I can haz" should serve 20 to life as far as I'm concerned.

Gr8 2 C U here. U haz commentz?


  1. Great post, Amber-- I lulz'ed at it ;)

    I agree with you that on a professional level, real grammar should be the standard. I don't care what you tweet or text to your friends, just don't put it in an email to a supervisor or, god forbid, to a client. Even if text-speak is "socially exceptable" or put into Webster's Dictionary, the correct spelling of the written word should be maintained in the professional setting.

  2. "It needed to be said"!  :)

    I do Agree.  Tho, I do use shortened words like tho!  And I do use LOL...so...LOL  I have also been known to use a Haz now and again on FB, when commenting on a cute Kitty!  But, I always use long text.  It may take longer, but there is never any mistaking what I am saying ...or for that matter what I'm reading!  I hate trying to figure out the meanings.  It took Me 2 years to figure out LMAO...and I finally had to ask my Niece!  I'm sure You've noticed in my past comments, that I employ long-hand!  And, having been on the hiring end of Business Management for 30 years, I probably would have thrown a resume or application in the Garbage...or deleted it, if they had been written in text speech!  Apart from using texting on My Smart Phone, I live in a Long-Hand World still!  :)

  3.  You said it, Krista! Text speak may be socially acceptable, but it doesn't mean it's appropriate. That girl who wrote "4U" in the cover letter that I mentioned in the post was a Harvard graduate, too!

  4.  I can't tell you how many times people use text speak in communications and I have to Google it to see what that abbreviation means. Don't wait two years next time, Eleanor, just Google it. ;-)

    Unless one is on Twitter with a 140 character limit, there's no reason not to write out the word on Facebook or in an email. As for the "haz," that does seem to be popular in the kitty world, doesn't it????? #meow

  5. Uh oh; I might be banished......I don't think I do it too much but in a text I might shorten it up. However, I'm not that picky either so I don't think it will raise much of a red flag with me. 

    I guess there it can be to slangy or tech speak. Way to stand your ground! 

  6. Hahahaha...oh ya Google! DOH! LOL Girl....I'm 54 years old, and I just bought the iPhone4 today! Soooo....I'm a little behind the times! :)

  7. I don't use an iPhone so you're ahead of me! ;-)

  8. Oh, don't make me banish you, Bill! ;-)

  9. From a web communication perspective, which is my world, using abbreviations, slang and such reduce the audience to the message that is trying to be conveyed as not a lot of people will understand it. We have to target the widest audience possible in my job which means to a certain readability level, the population of Vancouver includes many people from different countries. We translate our material in various languages, and frankly there are unlikely to be an equivalent of some abbreviations in...say...Arabic. On the web, visitors will also put text from websites through a translator such as Google Translate, the better the English the more chances there are of a clearer translation.

    Many years ago, when I was working for the UK government, they had a project to improve the tone of language they used on websites and communication to the public, their standards were set by the Plain English Campaign (http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/) and I have used them as a resource since. The objective is to get a message across not to impress people with the organizations knowledge of cool slang or long complicated words/phrases.

  10. Steven! So nice to hear from you! It's been awhile. Hope you're doing well ;-)

    Good points in your comment. If sure text speak would be a nightmare from a translation standpoint. I'll check out the link. The name intrigues me!

  11. Thanks Amber, hope you are well. I am fine but working too much...but its all good, I have work which is great in this economy.

  12. Very true. Important to keep things like that in perspective, huh?

  13. This post makes my heart sing. :)
    I cringe when I see 'u' used in an email...really? I admit, I've been guilty of sending a text with it in there, and can see that as we rely more and more on our smart phones for communication, rather than sitting at our desktops or laptops, we're opting for the shortest, easiest way out.

    I struggle with long emails on my phone and if possible, wait until I can sit in front of my screen and a real keyboard to type a proper response. The time it takes for me to think about my response, rather than succumbing to the 'must respond instantly' mantra so prevalent in our world, is so worth it. I'm pretty sure the recipient of my emails would agree.

    Again, love this post and I thank you for writing it!

  14. Really good point, Erica. Succumbing to the "must respond instantly" thing is becoming much too prevalent.

    I mean, I think we all feel (to some degree) that if more than ten minutes passes and we haven't responded that we're being negligent. That's just insane. As you say, leave the more thoughtful and important communications for when you're stationary at your desk.

    Answering an important email while in line at the market may get you points for quick response, but if your email doesn't take the time to address all the points (or able to do it without errors), wait until you can do it right. And, if that means saying "will respond to this in-depth once I'm back at my desktop," so be it. The email has been acknowledged, but not at the expense of a professional response. I don't think anyone can object to that.

    Thanks for chiming in, Erica!


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