Irony, a wonderful word and Hemingway

In an online discussion, a critical eye was turned towards how people communicate via social media. In as few words possible, they do it very poorly.


What interested me in the discussion was that no one had made reference to auto-correction or its lack of use.

As a person who considers bad spelling an affront to my eyeballs, I have a hard time trying to fathom why people either turn-off auto-correction or ignore spell check altogether. Many underscore their poor language by citing they are being “creative“, but it’s more like they are trying to show the world–in 140 characters or less–how <insert insulting word here> they are.

But could it be something else as well?

Poor education is often the go-to excuse for why social media users snd msgs lk this 2 frnds. The truth is not that simple. The truth is mired in a host of different reasons, each of them a contributing factor that convolutes the discussion even further. In other words, there is no agreed upon unified theory for the cause of poor social media language and etiquette.

Except… Laziness.

Or better still: FECKLESSNESS


I was tempted to reply with “IKR!”

One of the prevailing causes for the rampant use of acronyms and abbreviations in social media stems from the need to “save keystrokes.” This idea comes from the programming world – or at least, that’s what I recall being told. It’s as if using these little crap “words” makes communications faster. Perhaps it does when between two teenagers. However when its to wider audiences, clarity takes a backseat to speed and much can be lost, including MORE time.

While I cannot truthfully admit to having never posted a tweet that did not contain some sort of keystroke-saving effort, I will admit that whenever possible, I use my 140 characters as best as I can. I compose proper sentences whenever I can. When I can’t, I prefer to use creative punctuation. Meaning, I use colons, semi-colons, brackets and other marks when I need to.

So, my overall argument here is that it should be considered ironic that writing “creatively” on social media is often not. Using the (poor) education argument, I would point out that people go to school for years learning how to expand on their creativity. Ergo, (if you’ll excuse the poor construction of my syllogism here), being ill-educated and using “creative” language, is in fact, not being creative at all. Engaging in that behaviour is in reality, a sign of fecklessness.


I’ll end this piece with a quick story about Ernest Hemingway.

Hemingway was once challenged by another patron of his favourite watering hole to write a story using six words (or fewer). This is what he came up with:

“For sale: Baby Shoes, never worn.”

Go ahead. Cry. You know you want to.

Credit where credit is due: I picked up the word “Fecklessness” from a former colleague of mine, Andrew B – writer of “Acts of Minor Treason” 


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