Professionalism in Writing on the Internet

computer keyboard - professionalism When you’re on the Internet for whatever reason, you’re more than likely doing something to entertain yourself. When you’re on it to work, a degree of professionalism is necessary to distinguish it as work. Whether you admit it or not, writing like this (what I’m doing now) for a website requires some degree of professionalism as well. That is, if you want more than a handful of people to read it and appreciate it. This is why checking both your grammar and your spelling is important. A misspelled word can change the meaning of a sentence. The same thing goes for bad grammar.

When Professionalism isn’t Important

It doesn’t matter when you make mistakes writing comments or replying to them on Facebook, Twitter or some other social network. It doesn’t even matter when you’re texting on a mobile phone or Skype (or texting on Skype on a mobile phone). You’re not writing something in a professional context and you can expect to make mistakes. The person on the other end expects you to make mistakes.

Most of what people do on the Internet has very little to do with professionalism and that’s okay. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Criticism of Professionalism

A good writer doesn’t like getting caught making mistakes, especially when they’re stupid mistakes. There are lists of frequently misspelled words available all over the Internet (colloquially speaking, of course) and most spell checkers cover those words. If you’ve never seen a list like that, it looks something like this:

its, it’s
lose, loose
principal, principle
their, there, they’re
were, where

Yesterday, I posted a comment on a website before I noticed it was using Facebook comments for the comments section (I should’ve ignored it). I wrote:

When you write “loose” when you mean “lose”, I tend to lose interest in everything else you write.

Here are some of the replies:

When you discredit relevant information for syntax, nevermind. I’m sure you have enough problems. I don’t need to point out the obvious.

I can’t imagine the wonderful things you miss out on due to your pride.

Books come with errors, do you still read them? Sitting behind “my built in spell-check is better than yours” is…. childish. To err is human comes to mind. To pass off good knowledge as uninteresting because of a human mistake is too hyper critical and absurd. Read it for what it is…. knowledge, and judge it for what it could do for you or not do for you, not for its clerical errors. You know they are there as do I, question is can you let them go?

“Lose” or “loose”, everything in this article is true, so if you are going to say it’s not just because the author made a spelling mistake, then you are even more ignorant.

True the article could have used some proofreading and a few facts checked but…

According to my Facebook notifications, 22 people agreed with me (which doesn’t include those who posted those comments). There may not be any more notifications because the author corrected the mistake sometime after I posted my comment.

I don’t usually post comments like that, but I’m seeing “loose” being used in place of “lose” far too often. It’s become a pet peeve for me. I’m sorry if you don’t agree, but a professional writer isn’t supposed to publish a mistake that obvious and there’s nothing “childish” about calling someone out on it. I call it constructive criticism of their professionalism and authors have every right to remove criticizing comments that offend them.

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