Texting Language, Leftovers and Styrofoam Plates

Posted: January 20th, 2014, 3:36 pm   By: brittany.corners

The language used in texting is in some ways a language of its own. Abbreviations, letter and number combinations, words without vowels and symbols take on new meanings. Throughout history, other abbreviated forms of language have proved effective as a way to communicate in a particular situation, yet telegraphs and shorthand are mostly a thing of the past with the propensity to engage in texting the favored “shortened” writing technique that finds its way into emails, chat messages, blogs and more. The one place it should not appear is in professional writing, especially that of a formal nature. While many common texting words are well known, not everyone understands the meaning of even some of the most common ones.

Texting is language at its most informal. Using it in your professional pieces is the equivalent of inviting the President to dinner and serving him microwaved leftovers on Styrofoam plates when your best china and a delectable gourmet recipe is obviously a better choice.

The nature of texting creates new acronyms and abbreviations that sometimes have little or no meaning to anyone besides the person creating them, and this presents a problem when you use texting in formal pieces. You might leave your readers as confused as a dog by an escalator. Worse, you leave them thinking you are too incompetent or too lazy to use “real” language and words to convey your thoughts effectively.

If you are like many writers, you might grab a dictionary or go the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) online to check if a word is “a word.” In fact, the appearance of a word in the OED gives a word an “official” status. However, just because a word appears in the dictionary does not mean you should use it (think swears and other vulgarities) in professional pieces. Recently, the OED added “lol” (laughing out loud), “imho” (in my humble opinion), “fyi” (for your information), “tmi” (too much information) and other texting words to the dictionary. It even added a non-word with no letters – the heart symbol (<3).

If you are a seasoned pro of the English language, the elevated status of some common texting words probably does not encourage you to start peppering your writing with them. However, if you have grown up with texting language as part of your everyday communication, you might find yourself tempted to use those words that appear in the OED in some of your professional pieces.

Don’t do it.

FYI dnt use txt lingo when u rite prof pcs. u confuz readRs n snd uneduc8d.

Keep your professional pieces free of texting language, or you risk losing credibility, confusing readers and sounding uneducated.