I love words. I do. I love them so much that I can yammer on and on for pretty much ever about them. I like to read them, and write them, and talk about them, and look at all the wonderful ways they fit together to create all sorts of interesting and beautiful things. It makes me sad, then, to see people taking the literary equivalent of a giant shit on the language. Substituting numbers and single letters for entire words, removing vowels and replacing “s” with “z” and doing all sorts of stupid shit that makes me not even register what I’m looking at as actual words. I won’t even call it “text speak,” as the old people (like me) tend to, mostly because it’s invaded every goddamned place that the written word exists. And it makes me fucking furious.
I have a Twitter account. I very rarely use it, mostly because it enrages me. The 140-character restriction too often results in a string of two-line messages that look like they were banged out on the keyboard by a deranged toddler. Social media is simultaneously the backbone and the bane of modern society. Honestly, what the hell is wrong with you people? Why do you type like idiots? You do know it makes you look like a moron, right? Twitter, well, I guess I can excuse that. You know, the character restriction and all. A Facebook status, however, lets you write a lot. I know this, because I push that limit all the time. They give you plenty of space to write actual words. And yet, I keep seeing things like, “goin 2 momz 4 dinR. txt me l8r.”
People who type like this always have a million excuses. “Language evolves.” “Only nerds care about that stuff.” “You’re being too strict.” (Or is that, “Ur bein 2 strict?” I don’t know. It’s hard to write like an idiot on purpose.) “If language never changed, we’d all still be speaking like Shakespeare” blah blah blah NO STOP USING EVOLVING LANGUAGE TO EXCUSE LAZINESS. This is not the evolution of language. This is language devolving to a point where it’s barely recognizable, back into the primordial ooze of “ur” and “lol” and “imma” and “idk.”
Oh, and another thing. Not only does it look fucking stupid, but TyPiNg LiKe tHiS iS aCtUaLLy rEalLy hArD. Those seven words took me at least three minutes. And this alternating lowercase/caps thing strikes me as the equivalent of not only giving your kid a stupid name, but spelling it “kre8ivlee.” No one knows what the fuck you’re trying to say, and you just look like a tool for doing it in the first place.
And it’s spreading. I’ve come across “u” and “ur” in long blocks of text in “serious” online writing. And then the “author” gets all bent out of shape when someone points out that those are not, in fact, words, and their writing looks like they let a third grader proofread. Here’s a hint: if you’re going to take part in a writing workshop, and present yourself as a serious author, take your peer readers seriously when they tell you that using “u” and “2” and “lol” in your essay makes you look like a fucking idiot.
Not to mention, it doesn’t even make sense half the time. I’ll grudgingly give you the “LOL”s and “BRB”s and “IDK”s, because those are abbreviations, and at least they make some kind of sense. However, “ur,” when I read it in my mind, sounds like “er,” not “your” or “you’re.” Also, “ya” is not “your” or “you’re.” Where the hell did that even come from? “2” instead of “to” is only saving one character. That’s pretty fucking lazy right there.
Am I a snob about words? Absolutely. Do you have the right not to give a shit what I think about your typing? You sure do. I just think you should know that people are judging you, and when you type like this, it really does cause some people to think less of you, and it does make you look like a fucking moron. Your teachers would be ashamed. Shakespeare would be ashamed.