I have just had the following comment posted by Jim on my ‘biography‘ entry on this blog.
Please proofread your website.
It doesn’t detract from what you’re saying, but I did find the spelling errors and grammatical mistakes a little annoying.
How to respond? Obviously, I first checked the comment for typos – no such luck. Should I delete it? It is, after all, the only comment on this ‘not-particularly-for commenting-on-page”. Well that wouldn’t really be in the spirit of social media.
It’s also not the first time someone has highlighted errors in my copy – though never directly in a comment. It therefore gave me pause for thought, but as I thought, it became apparent that this is actually part of a much bigger issue. The clue to this lies in Jim’s description of my output as “a website”. But it’s not a website, it’s a blog. What’s the difference?
Websites (as we tend to understand them) are traditional forms of media. They are relatively expensive / difficut to produce. They therefore have content rules attached to them – as do all traditional forms of media – and these rules derive directly from the implications of the fact that traditional media is expensive and scarce. Social media, however, is cheap and disposable – that’s the whole point. Social media, even if it looks like traditional published material, is more akin to conversation than publication. That, in my opinion, absolves it from a responsibility to conform to the rules of traditional publication.
You could say that criticising my blog for containing typos and grammatical errors is the same as looking at a home video in YouTube and saying that the lighting is all wrong, the sound balance is all over the place and whoever did the post-production should be shot. I may be stretching it a bit here – but you get the point. (Should that have a question mark after it – “you get the point” – question or statement?)
You get the point?
You get the point. That’s what it is all about.
If any of my posts were to be reproduced in a traditional publication, I would expect them to be put into their Sunday best – be edited, proofread and had their hair smoothed down. But while they live in this blog, they can dress casual.