Posted by Megan Stein
“OMG gurl, thats totes insane. Call me l8er for deets.” If you are anything like me, these are the kinds of text messages that drive you up the wall. What’s worse? When you get a text message like that from your dad. In years past, people choose to speak to each other in a formal or informal way depending on their relationship. But, in this day and age people seem to think it is acceptable to speak to anyone, in any way they feel. The above text? That’s not ok to send to your boss. In fact, it really isn’t ok to send to anyone with an IQ above 50. What are we doing to ourselves? Are our texts, e-mails, tweets, etc. muddling our minds into thinking these kinds of conversations are ok.
An article from GrammarGirloutlines some basic dos and don’ts for the online conversation world, and I agree with what she says for the most part. However, at one point she poses the question, “Is a text message to your boss a formal or informal communication?” and encourages readers to use their better judgment to make that decision. The article continues to describe the use of Twitter and how that, for the most part, is an informal situation allowing conversational and laid back tones as well as abbreviations. Well, wait. Don’t future employers look at our Twitter? Don’t they check out our Facebook and Google search us before considering hiring us? Now I’m confused.
On a personal level, tweets, texts or anything for that matter with obnoxious abbreviations make me want to toss my phone in the trash and give up on humanity. But at the end of the day, is it really our fault that this language is so common? As a college student, I am often confused about formal vs. informal situations and can see how my peers would be the same. Is sending a teacher a formal e-mail necessary anymore? The rules need to be re-written and the confusion needs to end so no one gets unfairly punished. Now lies the question, who’s job is it to figure all this out? Well, as the college generation of today, I think the responsibility falls on us.
What situations confuse you about whether or not they should be formal or informal? Have you had an experience where you thought you could be informal and were punished for it?