on May 15, 2008
Shawn touches on a subject near and dear to my heart, which is the practice of lazy people to attempt to do business using the voice of a child. Shawn actually received an email which read thus:
Now, I don’t think of myself as overly pedantic when it comes to the written word. I have typos and spelling errors on this site often enough that I have no room to criticize others. I’m not faulting people who make simple errors in the course of business correspondence. I am faulting people who can’t even be bothered to try, who communicate by staring fixedly down at the keyboard, spewing out a formless stream of words and hitting “send” without so much as a glance at what the result was.
In the last ten years or so this has been growing in popularity. Nobody ever sent me email in this condition during the early parts of my career, but in the last ten years it’s become increasingly common. What is causing this? The rise of phone-based text messaging? The educational system? Are we being infiltrated by aliens who mimic our habits in every way except that they can’t grasp the most rudimentary rules of our written word?
In my view it shows an outright contempt for the recipient if you’re not even willing to fully type out the word “you”. What kind of savings are you getting by not typing out the y-o? What are you doing with all that extra time?
In the 50’s it was common for the average office worker to wear a full suit, tie, hat, jacket, overcoat, etc. The dress code was oppressive by today’s standards. Sock suspenders were sometimes required. Now, I do not miss those days, and I see no reason to return to them. I certainly don’t think it makes sense to spend your day attempting to write software while wearing twenty pounds of heavy, starched, dry-clean-only clothing.
But the coming generation seems to regard sentence structure the way I view suit jackets in August: As a needless formality and a tiresome encumbrance. Is this what it’s going to come to? In ten years when I send an email like…
…is my correspondence going to be laughed at, like the old guy who keeps wearing a tie when everyone else in the office is dressed in sandals and ironic t-shirts?
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.