Skip to main content

Writing in the Smartphone Era

As long as I'm ranting against smartphones and tablets, I wonder if they are responsible for the poor quality comments on some of the blogs I follow. By 'poor quality' I don't mean that I disagree with their point. I just can't read their comment; my eyes and brain hurt too much.

Perhaps the comment was pecked out by thumbs when the guy was waiting in his mega-saurus, king-cab, dualie pickup truck in the fast food drive-through; and the commenter hasn't gotten around to buying an app for spell checking.

Then again, maybe he did get an app, except that it changes ordinary English prose to thumb-English: "R U L8?", "wut 4?," and the like. The rules of lower and upper case have gone out the window. An entire vocabulary of sub-English abbreviations flourishes. What the hell does LOL or IMHO mean anyway?!

There is no more inexcusable form of sub-English than one made of abbreviations. Maybe I'm wrong to blame smartphones and their postage-stamp-sized keyboards. The comments could be coming from tablets -- those over-priced vending machines for the iTunes store -- with their "virtual" keyboards. How does one touch-type on a virtual keyboard?

Perhaps the real problem is that people don't even learn to touch-type in school anymore. Maybe there will soon be an app for changing English into pictorial icons so we can stop writing English altogether. No doubt it would be just as clear as the pictograms on the heating-vent-air conditioning knob in your car. In fact, ten years from now we might look back on thumb-English as a transitional language, such as the Anglo-French (circa 1150 A.D.) mentioned in dictionary etymologies. By then the internet will be completely video and they'll just be a handful of large buttons for the modern ape-man to push: thumbs-up or down, buy, share, and next.


Unknown said…
Hey. Good training for the future of speaking and writing Chinese with its written language of ideograms. LOL