Maybe It’s Just Me

on June 5, 2014

Grammarly did a little info compiling based on celebrity tweets on Twitter, and came up with some interesting statistics. (You can see the infographic here.) They concluded things like female celebrities make fewer overall writing errors than do male celebrities, younger celebrities make more grammar mistakes than their older counterparts, and to no one’s surprise I’m sure, writers make the least amount of spelling and grammar mistakes online.

This got me thinking. How hard do we (that’s anyone, celebrity or not) try to be correct while composing a tweet?

First of all, there is the limited character issue. I’ve been known to type bks for books so I could fit my entire message. Should that count against me? I’d think not, since I did it on purpose. So maybe tweets aren’t the right place to focus. Let’s say online anywhere.

Do you work hard to make sure an email you send to a friend is correct in both grammar and spelling? How about Facebook updates and comments? As a writer, anything I type for public consumption, be it a blog or Facebook update, is written with every effort at correct spelling and grammar. Yes, I’ve been known to go with a synonym of a word if I’m not sure in the moment how to spell it and don’t have time to look it up. (Please tell me I’m not on the only one.)

This is not to say everything I put out there is correct. I end up with typos in Facebook updates all the time. It’s annoying and a product of needing to be doing eight other things while typing the update. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

I remember when I first started exchanging emails with one of my little brothers. He’d been using computers on a regular basis since high school where I didn’t have this luxury until college. All of his emails were in lower case with no punctuation. Drove. Me. Nuts. But it was as if this was acceptable because this was typing some email and why should the rules of grammar, spelling, and punctuation be applied? What does it matter?

For me, it matters. How about for you? Is this all a sign that our language skills are going to hell in a hand basket? Or am I being annoyingly uptight? (Totally fair answer and I will not be offended.)

Follow Me….Or Else!

on February 13, 2013

Anyone with a computer and passing knowledge of the internet knows social media is sweeping the world, changing our lives, and giving a voice to many who have been muzzled for far too long. This is a positive thing. We’re already living in the world of tomorrow and more connected than ever.

But…. There’s always a but.

There’s this new thing I’m seeing lately on Twitter. For the uninitiated, Twitter is a social media site that allows anyone with an account to air their thoughts, stories, news, and anything else in 140 characters or less. The glitch is that only the people who choose to “follow” you will see what you have to say. Since we all want to be heard, we need followers to hear us or what’s the point of tweeting at all? (The whole tree falls in the forest thing.)

I didn’t like Twitter for a long time, but eventually grew to enjoy it. You really have to figure out how to make it work for you. I cannot stay on the site all day and that means I rarely take part in active discussions. However, if there is breaking national or international news, I will log in as the details almost always show up there first.

I check in a few times during the day, if I think of it. Promote blogs and try to mention now and then about my newsletter contest and book up for preorder, but for me Twitter is not a promotional tool. It’s a place I go to find something interesting about the world or the publishing industry or just to laugh at someone’s funny observations. The tweets that flew during the blackout at the Super Bowl were the best part of the evening.

So here’s my but. The new trick seems to be to follow people only to get them to follow you back. And if they don’t follow you back within a few days, you unfollow them, as if that’s some punishment. You just cannot be expected to keep that ungrateful tweeter on your list if he/she isn’t going to return the favor.

Here’s why this bothers me. I follow people I think will say or share something I find interesting. If they don’t follow me back, that’s fine. If your stream is nothing but “Buy my book!” then I’m not following. I get enough ads on every other site, I’m not purposely going to follow someone to have more ads thrown my way. And that’s what those are—ADS.

To be fair, I do not want anyone to follow me unless they’re genuinely interested in what I have to say. Admittedly, I don’t say much, but I try. I retweet things I find pertinent. An open call for submissions, an article about the ever sweeping changes in publishing, or sharing word that a really good book is out now or on sale. Yes, that could be construed as an ad, but I gain no benefit from sharing the link. It’s not for me, it’s for the readers who might like the book. That, to me, is fair.

I’ve signed up for a service that alerts me every day to who followed me and unfollowed me in the last 24 hours. Many use this, I think, so they can go unfollow people who unfollow them. For me, I just wanted to see who was unfollowing me because my numbers were fluctuating so much. What it’s revealed has been enlightening.

If you’re following random people with the sole purpose of getting them to follow you and boost your numbers, that’s your right. But I don’t believe that’s how the site was intended, and I will not be taking part in that game. Have something interesting/funny/informative to say? Count me in. If you expect me to click FOLLOW out of obligation, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

Are you on Twitter? Do you like social media? Has it gotten to be too much? What sites are your favorites and have you found any new ones lately? (I know MySpace is back, but I just cannot handle one more site.) As a reader, do you use social media to find new authors and books?