AFP's creators posted an email a while ago from a reader named Greg, who had sent them some fairly constructive criticism about the website. Unfortunately he had done so with very few words spelt correctly and, unforgivably, even suggested that they re-think their 'righting'. This sparked an epic surge of comments, many mocking the hapless Greg for his idiocy (often ironically in cackhanded online 'righting' themselves) some defending him, lots finding the colossal reaction to a little mispelling completely baffling. I do agree that lots of people suspend accuracy for their internet comments, tweets and statuses, but this was an email, and a formal critique at that. Shouldn't that have warranted a little care? I feel bad for him (and a little admiring, reading his razor-sharp follow-up), but I also feel that even the most valid point is dented when spelling and grammar is abandoned. Not only did the Gregster fail to see the comic potential of his email, but he sounded like a raving hypocrite. Emphasis on the raving.
Spelling and grammar are slipping ever closer to extinction - I read Lynne Truss's Eats, Shoots and Leaves recently and sympathised with her exasperation. I know the wily pair don't come naturally to everyone, so some people have to put more time in and check their writing a little more carefully, but essentially, it's practice. I don't like overly pedantic people [especially vicious little anonymous twerps who comment on my every slip - yes you, arseface] but if we all stopped caring and thought, 'They'll know what I mean", no one would ever write anything compelling. I'm immediately turned off by writing with mistakes in it, from national newspapers to short online comments, and it inevitably undermines the writer's core message because it screams laziness if not stupidity. The immediacy of the internet is a wonderful thing, but how are younger generations going to learn to read and write correctly if such breezy inaccuracy is the norm online? It is vital to most jobs, especially when securing deals and seducing clients via email. In many a magazine office I've worked in, journalists either laugh at or swiftly discard badly spelt or nonsensical press releases; I know PR is a fast-paced environment, but you're selling something - at least run it by the spellcheck.
I would be interested to know which camp people are in: is it only us hardcore language fans still devoted to the preservation of the correctly-placed apostrophe? Do we need to chill out, or do the spelling culprits need to sharpen up? I'm not sure, but I do know I'll be proofreading this one to death.