Donger, Wil Robinson! Dinger!

Posted: 21 October 2011 in skills, writing
Tags: , ,


Ah, the cures of online communication. Dammit, the curse of online communixation.

A few years ago, a columnist, bemoaning the apparent lack of knowledge of proper grammar and punctuation among the British public, wrote a column in which he challenged his readership to discover the three grammatical errors which he’d deliberately inserted into the column. Of course, his readership found two of the errors. They didn’t find the third… However, they did find nine additional errors of which the columnist was entirely unaware.

That episode mentioned, I’ll apologise in advance for any unintentional typos in this piece…

I’ve thought for some time that in addition to the languages written, spoken and understood by those communicating online, there should be a new language deemed to exist, the language and practice of Tyop.

(And before anyone answers with the infamous ‘study’ from Cambridge that demonstrated that the order of letters within words is unimportant to reading comprehension, might I direct you here? Thank you.)

Nowadays, I’m coming to believe that learning to read Tyop is, and will be, as important a language to understand and read fluently, as English, and every student should certainly receive training in it.

Now while, in the early days of online communication, typos merely referred to unintentionally incorrect spelling of a word wrong, I think the language of Tyop extends to, for example, hitting “Reply All” on an email instead of “Reply”.

Also to un-noticed predictive text or auto-correct screwing around with the word you intended to use, to texting someone in error because their name is next to someone else’s in your address book, and, especially on Twitter, sending what’s meant as a Direct Message (i.e. a private message intended for one person) out into the world as a public tweet.

(And, seriously, if you haven’t visited wherein people have posted screen dumps of examples of predictive texts/ autocorrect going wrong, you really should…)

I’m pretty sure I’ve done all of those, and unless you’re not on one of the aforementioned services, you’ve probably done it as well.

It can be horribly embarrassing, depending, obviously, upon the content of the message. Or it can be amusing.

But usually embarrassing.

A boss of mine, replying to an email to me at work, once hit “Reply All” instead of Reply. The resulting reaction from pretty much every recipient was… “ah well, it happened to him, welcome to the club.” It would have been far more embarrassing had the boss included, as he’d intended to but changed his mind at the last minute, a request for my opinion as to a senior person’s request for a pay increase, complete with the numbers involved.

The world, I seriously believe, is divided into two types of people: those who’ve hit the wrong button when sending a message and posted something public that should have been private, etc. and those who haven’t… yet.

If you’re in the second group, don’t worry, you’ll move across sooner or latr. Damn, I meant latter. Or latté.

Oh, you know what I mean.

  1. […] mentioned before the fun there’s sometimes to be had in just enjoying the typos and nonsense that surround […]

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