Posted at 1 p.m. March 1, 2017

OMG wut r u tlkin abt?

Reading online becomes harder as text-speak evolves

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During the age of the Internet, we’re gifted with unlimited information at a rapid, convenient rate. If only we could read it.

Many Internet users are all about speed, all about finding a faster way to communicate. Thus came what I call text-speak. I can understand using chat acronyms in texts when you’re in a hurry, but they’ve gotten to a point where I find myself looking up abbreviations figuring out what it means. I spend more time trying to decipher what the person is saying than I do reading the message itself.

Some of the abbreviations have gotten to an unnecessary level. For example, using 2morrow rather than tomorrow; L8R rather than later; SRY rather than sorry. How much time are you saving yourself by avoiding typing or texting those extra one or two letters? What do you do with all that extra time you’ve provided for yourself? Thankfully, these kind of acronyms aren’t seen as often in a college environment. However, I have seen newer and even stranger acronyms being used on the Internet than I did when I was a kid.

My entire high school experience was online through Wyoming Virtual Academy, and this is where I struggled the most when interacting with other students. We had required ‘class times’ where the class would essentially act as a live chat group. All the students would have access to a private link to the classroom where only the teacher had admin privileges. The teacher would display their presentation and use a microphone to talk to the students. The students could type live chat messages to the teacher.

Interacting with the teacher was never an issue, but there would be group projects or graded discussion boards in which I had to communicate with the other students. That’s when I had to have an Internet slang translator pulled up on my computer the whole time. Even all the way up to 12th grade, many other students would avoid capitalization, punctuation and spellcheck like the plague. I hope for their sake they didn’t write like that when they’d turn in English essays.

I can’t speak for WYVA — I can’t tell you that a student putting up these kind of communication barriers doesn’t impact their grade. I will say, however, I think it should. In a way, these students are making more work for me because I’m spending significantly more time reading their group messages by going half-way through and thinking, “wait, what?” and starting over.

It was a breath of fresh air seeing the college-level writing when joining Laramie County Community College. I felt that others felt the same way I did about writing: “If I want them to read my message, I should make it as easy to read as possible.” This, at the least, includes properly spelling words and clarifying when one sentence ends and another begins.

It’s beyond me how not following this policy is acceptable in a high school environment. Letting this kind of thing slide isn’t properly preparing these kind of students for the real world. It’s not like they can hand in a resume to an employer reading, “pls hire me lol” and expect a job.


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