Previously, I’ve discussed the act of shortening words, and the various ways in which the English language has been morphed for convenience, thanks in part to the Internet. However, today I’d like to discuss why poor typing itself has managed to prosper in our “modern culture”.
In “days of olde”, lackadaisical and severely limited typing ability was somewhat acceptable; computers had only so much memory, and some cellphone text messaging plans were priced by message length. Letter frugality saved people resources and money with which to do other things.
However, today’s computing is no longer as limiting. Memory is cheaper and more abundant than ever, and aptly named “unlimited” plans are becoming cheaper with each passing fiscal year. You’d think that would make every user a regular Crichton, wouldn’t you? Well, it’s easy to see that nothing’s further from the truth. For example, Twitter promotes reticence in its messaging, usually forcing users to get their point across in a less-than-visually-pleasing way.
I believe the current state of poor typing ability is due to two main reasons:
- Lack Of Skill – Growing up, some of us had typing classes. While in some fashion typewriting typing is applicable, I’m going to focus more on the area of the peculiarly-named “keyboarding”. Sure, during the class we goofed off, joked at the smell of the room, and remarked at how the rubber keyboard covers reminded us of a certain similar latex-based covering. As such, no one really took the class seriously. The pressure was only on when we weren’t able to look at the keyboard, and even then a certain leniency was granted for mistakes. So, not only did the activity become seen as trivial, but, in addition, skills associated with good typing were not fostered.
- Lack Of Feedback – Another part of the problem would be that software and the Internet try to moron-proof everything. Take Google, for example. If you’ve typed in “zeebras”, you’ll most likely get a page that starts with “Did you mean: zebras (Top 15 results shown)”. So it’s a simple matter find what you intended without correcting your error manually. Additionally, Microsoft Word has a similar “protection”. If you mess up in spelling a word or even forming a sentence, you’ll be treated to an aesthetically pleasing red or green line underneath your fowl-up. All you have to do then is make a couple clicks, and you’ll be directed to a list of suggestions. More frequently, Word will simply fix misspellings for you, so you can blunder along your paper making hideous errors in the composition of the English language unfazed and undetected.
We all make mistakes. But choosing not to correct those mistakes while consistently making them is not good. In fact, it shows just how uncaring we are towards communication, our heads firmly shoved into the butt of entertainment. Nothing is watching over us, telling us when we screw up this skill. People and programs alike just stubbornly dismiss the error, even stepping in to fix it for the offender. But that teaches nothing, other than perhaps a moment of perceived humiliation.
In writing, we use capitalization, punctuation, and grammar in a more or less correct fashion to convey thoughts and ideas. Why don’t these skills translate over to typing?
We need to take these “handicaps” away. Sure, people will be mad, but it will make people type well. I’m not asking for everyone to be able to tell me what a predicate nominative is; I just want to see some capital letters and complete sentences.
In essence, the epitome of this uncaring attitude is no more than five characters long, and is the thought of many when approached by a logical order of ideas:
Let Poor Typing Skills Die