Our language has been influenced by social media for a long time now, with ‘selfie’ being named Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries in 2013, and ‘hashtag’ entering the dictionary shortly after in 2014.
This rise of internet slang being used in everyday life makes us wonder, does standard spelling and grammar still matter online in 2022?
It might be easy to assume that it doesn’t. We already talked in this blog about the importance of consistency which addressed a lot of the visual elements and the brands voice, and language use plays into this, which includes spelling and grammar. When you are online, words are all you have to portray yourself, so it is important to choose the right ones.
One of the most important things to consider is context. Is this intended for friends or potential customers?
When talking to friends, it is normal to use a more informal tone. This might also extend to using slang, abbreviations and non-standard punctuation.
However, when you are a posting on behalf of a business or communicating with customers, it is important to appear professional and knowledgeable. A page riddled with spelling mistakes could reduce your credibility, and encourage customers to look elsewhere.
On platforms with restricted word counts, such as Twitter, it is common and acceptable to shorten words and use abbreviations. In these cases, the most important thing is conveying the information clearly and concisely.
On the other hand, on platforms where you have more freedom, such alterations are unnecessary and can cause confusion if not used appropriately. One of the most important purposes of social media is communication. The needless use of shortened words can dilute your message, or make it unintelligible for a wider audience.
Whilst it can be fun to play around with language by using internet slang, it is important for your writing to be clear and easy to read. The usage of technical slang terms could potentially isolate you from your customers, who may not have the same knowledge as you. For this reason, it is best to steer clear of these terms, and save them for messaging with friends.
Although sometimes ignored, punctuation is an important aspect of making sure that what you are writing is understandable. Its importance is most clearly asserted on platforms like Twitter, where it can help you emphasise your point in a brief manner. Without punctuation, your message can be made unclear.
With increasing disregard for spelling and grammar online, it may seem like no big deal to flout the rules. However, it is important to remember that these errors can have a real impact on your company’s image. Any small error could be detrimental to your business, so it is important to proofread your posts and use correct spelling and grammar.
If you recognise that you are not a great writer, that is a brilliant first step. perhaps you could employ someone, or outsource it (to people like us, for instance!). If not, there are tools that you can use, like Grammarly, Ginger or ProWritingAid. Take a look at this blog for tools like this.
Or, you can look at tools that you already have, like Word, to help you.
If you would like help tidying up your words in your social channels, contact us for more information.
If you’d like help with digital marketing strategy, ads management, social media management or any other aspect of digital marketing, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 01629 810199.
If you’d like help with digital marketing, ads management, SEO, copywriting, websites, branding or social media management… or anything else related to the internet and digital, then get in touch with us. We’re a friendly bunch.