We thank Shel Holtz for giving us all a weekend to resolve never again to brush off misspellings, poor grammar, punctuation or other language kinks that may creep into our work. They matter. Holtz points to research showing that other people — young people definitely included — don't like raggedy writing. Holtz cites research by Disruptive Communications showing that 42.5 percent of 1,003 consumers in a July survey said that poor spelling or grammar were most likely "to damage their opinion of a brand in social media." Never mind that Disruptive is a UK firm and that the consumers were British. The King's English is our language, too.
Look at it this way — careless spelling or grammar stands out as messy. And who wants to spend time (or heaven forbid, money) with a messy, cavalier writer or presenter? "And lest you think," Holtz adds, "that only older fuddy-duddies sniff at a misplaced modifier or a misused apostrophe, it ranked as the second most disturbing behavior among 18–24-year-olds. (Companies that don't post often enough were number one with the younger demographic, but only by 1.2 percentage points.)"
There's hope for us all when young people are put off by sloppy writing. Remember that over the weekend and act on it eternally.
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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