Marketing Prose: Articles that give insight into issues facing businesses today.

Does proper spelling and grammar still matter in social media?

You don’t have to read too many text messages, Twitter or Facebook updates to see why many people blame social media for the decline in people’s writing skills. Does spelling and grammar matter on the Internet?

Many people in our industry will say “yes” if not argue that social media can teach you how to be a better writer.

Sloppy writing can be detrimental to your reputation and personal brand. Regardless of whether we are communicating informally or formally, it’s important to pay attention to good writing skills.

Twitter and Social Media Sites

On Twitter, you’re given 140 characters to spit out a message. This means you have to be brief, succinct and get right to the point. With today’s short attention spans, writers need to cut out the fluff, be brief and get straight to the point. Twitter allows you to do this. It’s also a fun way to play with words to ensure you’re writing your message clearly and succinctly. What if your message can’t fit within the 140-character limit? Don’t worry, it’s OK to use abbreviations, acronyms and shortened words in order to get your message across. In the world of social networking it’s OK. However, for college essays, newsletters, and resumes, for example, it’s not OK.

Beyond Social Media

Sloppy writing can be detrimental to your reputation and your personal brand. Regardless of whether you are on social media sites, writing business plans, e-mails, articles or personal blog posts, it’s important to make sure your spelling and grammar are accurate. Avoid using abbreviations and shortened words as if you were writing a quick text message. Good writing skills will always matter and we need to be conscious of it whenever we are communicating through formal or informal communication.

Try to test your grammar in the following sentences:

  1. Dropping 5 percent in the third quarter, our gross revenues are in trouble, according to the CEO.
  2. Just between you and me, this new design is a marketing nightmare
  3. None of the reports is ready to be mailed.

Answers:

  1. What dropped? The CEO? No, gross revenues. When a sentence starts with an “ing” word, it should refer to the subject of the sentence.
  2. Between is a preposition. It takes the objective case. Just as you would say between us, not between we, you should also, by the same logic, say between you and me.
  3. Because the word “none” is singular, the verb “is” must also be singular.

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