How prudish, snobby and ridiculous does it make me that I'm thinking of taking a break from the Internet, not because of any drama or time issues, but because all of the mis-spelled words are driving me nuts? It's kind of to the point where I'm starting to question myself. I'll see the same mis-spelled word in about five places and feel the need to run to a dictionary just to be sure I'm not the one who has been wrong all these years.
I'm certain that the percentage of people misusing letters and words is about the same as ever, but now the Internet means that instead of just encountering the odd error in your friends' letters or memos from the boss, there's a constant stream of places where you can run into mistakes.
Lately, that moment when I trip over a word has gone like this: huh, I think she meant to use a "c" instead of an "s" there. Oh wait, that's supposed to be a "c" there, right? ::Ponders:: Yes, it's supposed to be a "c". It's taking me forever to get through things like Facebook postings thanks to the number of times that kind of internal dialogue is going on in my head.
The other side of it is how I feel obliged to make out the meaning of things when a combination of keyboard operator error and auto-correct get together in the same sentence all while not making the other person feel bad when they post or text total gibberish. As I told a friend, one must get used to filling in the blanks between what the person intended to say and what actually came through here in the age of the text. It's just that it's kind of wearying to be obliged to play a constant game of Hangman, except where letters are missing and need to be filled in, there are words missing with others in their place, ready and willing to lead you down the wrong path.
Every once in awhile I feel brave enough to briefly ponder the fact that language generally changes thanks to popular consensus, so now I'm staring down the barrel of the concept that all of the mis-spellers are probably the vanguard of how things will be spelled in the future. Used to be, people felt sheepish and obliged to keep a dictionary handy when they knew spelling wasn't their forte. Now the attitude seems to be that worrying about spelling is a ridiculous waste of time and energy and the rest of the world will just have to deal with things being wrong, plus if enough people do it, it magically goes from wrong to right. Historically speaking, I think those in the second camp win the argument, so it is time to brace myself for a future where "waist" and "waste" can be used interchangeably* and the reader will just have to parse out meaning because the writer won't care enough to learn the difference herself.
Now I'm sounding bitter, too. ::Sigh:: I'm really afraid it's people like me who will be making the adjustments on this one. Or just getting off the Internet to help pretend it isn't happening for awhile...
*An actual thing I saw not once or twice, but THREE SEPARATE TIMES just this week.