i have something to say

teen girl squad from homestarrunner.com (borrowed image)

It’s about grammar and punctuation and correct spelling and elements of style on the web.

Here’s why. Well, actually, more it was this. What sticks in my mind is the amount of anger and frustration people have toward those of us who post things on the internet, in Craigslist, chat rooms, or blogs and don’t spell-check or use proper English grammar. What sticks in my mind about the Chronicle article is the line that the Pew Foundation “found that only 34 percent considered their blog to be a form of journalism.”

I’m going somewhere with this. It’s someplace similar to where I went with this. It’s something about language, about context, about knowing your audience. And, in this case, your audience knowing you.

The line about bloggers not considering themselves journalists is important. It’s important because what separates bloggers from traditional (print) media is that the vast majority of print media has editors. Sure, Anthony Lane may be a brilliant wordsmith. He may be able to write his ass off for the New Yorker. But he’s also got a kick-ass editor over there making sure he’s crossed all his “T’s” and dotted all his “I’s,” metaphorically.

To cut to the chase. I’d love it, too, if more people knew the difference between “lose” and “loose,” between “it’s” and “its.” I spent some time earlier today, however, looking through some of my past posts here and distracted myself by catching typos, spelling errors, and grammatical mistakes. (Hell, I’ve got grammatical mistakes in work I’ve had published in professional journals.) I really need an editor.

All of which is to say the following: if you’re really pissed off that someone isn’t using good grammar or spell checking their stuff in a post on Craigslist, consider the source. You’re not reading Harper’s or something. You’re reading Craigslist. Chill. Out.

If you’re reading a blog written by a twenty-four-year-old college drop out who lives with her wonderfully charming four cats, cut the girl some slack.

On the other hand, if you’re reading Daily Kos and your grammar police Spidy-sense goes off, you might have cause for concer — but only because this guy’s trying to be politically/socially influential and you can influence more people when you at least have the appearance of intelligence. (Baring the appearance of intelligence, you could always use fear-mongering, ahem George Bush cough. Was that out loud?)

That’s all I got to say about that.

But check out this little ray of sunshine and then this one but only because they should make you remember that not everything in this world (or on Criagslist for that matter) sucks so bad.

Oh, and the picture I’ve chosen for this post really has nothing to do with anything. It just makes me smile.