You can’t read. You don’t read. You won’t read.

Books Miss You - The Anti-Social MediaReading and writing are the most essential parts of the internet, right below bacon and LOLcats. The use text-based language is essential because it is the quickest way to to share and process information. Sure, we have audio and video, but most of us spend years in school to come out with the ability to read and write coherent sentences, paragraphs, and essays.

That’s why it always amazes me how much of the internet is written at a second grade level with more typos than conceivably possible. Here are a few ways to improve your reading and writing, which has probably languished since you got out of college.

  • Don’t read the internet - You may remember something from school called books. There are also other publications called magazines that are published, usually with nice glossy photographs. Find something other than the internet to read. See how people write for audiences that aren’t distracted by Facebook. It’s a different experience, and makes you think about the words, sentences, and paragraphs you are constructing in different ways.
  • Proofread - Whatever you publish, proofread. One of the best parts of these new fangled computing machines is that they can edit things before you publish them. Take the 2 minutes to read over what you publish. It makes you look that much smarter.
  • Read things in different tones - As useful as our words can be, they lose a multitude of meaning and intent as soon as someone publishes them without any audio tone. Our languages are meant to be spoken out loud, and enunciating and articulating the consonants and vowels gives words context and meaning. Consider reading things out loud to further understand the author’s intention. Just rememeber if you read something out loud, do it somewhere people won’t think you’re crazy.
  • Write something significant - Blog posts and Twitter updates are fun, but they are no substitute for something of real significance. When was the last time you thought about writing two or three coherent pages? When did you last slave over a word about how it would fit into the context of something biggere than a sentence? It’s that type of labor in writing that makes a real difference in your quality and tone as a writer.

What do you do to read and write better? Is there any hope for the masses on the internet? Does writing another angry blog post about ths even do anything? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Meanwhile, I’ll be reading this awesome book I found. And no, I’m not sharing it. It’s mine.

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15 Responses to “You can’t read. You don’t read. You won’t read.”

  1. Curious July 7, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    Is that typo ironic?

    • Jay July 7, 2011 at 10:32 am #

      It’s like 10,00 spoons, when all I need is a spell-check.

  2. Rob July 7, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    Jay, I completely and 10000% percent agree with the idea behind this post.

    I also go a little crazy when people use text speak out loud (you know, actually saying WTF or OMG when they really aren’t cutting any syllables out or saving themselves time by shortening it. It is especially disturbing when people older than me do it.). I can be a bit of a grammar Nazi at times, and listening to my little sister, who is 15 years younger than me, talk with her friends or reading her posts on Facebook nearly sends me into a Rain Man seizure.

    I am also going to pretend that the four or five typos were for ironic and dramatic effect, especially with the great comeback above. :)

    • aburtch July 7, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

      It’s gotten to the point where I can’t even understand some of the texts my friends send me. With all the shortened words, misspellings, and acronyms, I have no idea what they are saying.

      • Jay July 7, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

        ORLY? LOLz.

    • Jay July 7, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

      I had a friend who used to say “ridic” in stead of “ridiculous.” I eventually had to stop
      him mid -sentence because it was so ridic.

      The typos were for my complete failure as a human with the ability to use spell check.

  3. PJ July 7, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    I agree; one must see the biggere ifference. Hee hee ;) Seriously though, textspeak and not using spellcheck (especially when one knows he or she is not the best at spelling and grammar or when used in a business context) really annoys me. I will say, however, that the auto-spelling thing (what’s the correct word I’m looking for here?….) on iPads and Smartphones have a tendency to make otherwise very intelligent and talented wordsmiths look like morons when they automatically select the wrong word. That’s seriously annoying. But then I suspect my incessant use of parentheses is seriously annoying to others as well. :)

    • Jay July 7, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

      Yeah, i like to see the big ifferences in how we write. We make mistakes, even when we proofread. That’s life.

      And I hate auto’correct. It never knows what the “he’ll” I’m talking about.

  4. Claire Wagner July 7, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    Oh, no, just as I was going to take the advice that’s always floating around about not reaching for grammatical perfection in my blog posts! I tend to review and edit obsessively - and I still end up with typos or just plain awkwardness. But when it comes to others’ blogs or Twitter profiles (which are THE WORST), I vote with my feet. I don’t read bad writers - bad in terms of ideas or use of the language.

    • Jay July 7, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

      Yeah, I get over typos and just dig into the real meat of the idea.

      We all make typos. I recently routed a document for proofreading at work and it went through 8 separate people and we still missed two errors.

  5. Cheryl Lawson July 7, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

    I usually run my news releases, and non-blog items past my retired English teacher mom. Unfortunately for my most recent “masterpiece,” I did not. It had a few typos that if you read fast enough you’d miss. (and by you I mean me). It turned out to be the most Tweeted, shared, and re-blogged item I’ve ever had.

    Only one person commented about the typos.

    • Jay July 7, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

      Don’t you love when stuff like that happens?

  6. PJ July 7, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

    A friend of mine sent this email to me today: “wnt me 2 show u how2 put tincle in your hair?” I sat and looked at it for a minute. Another minute. Came back an hour later. Replied: Huh???? She writes back saying that she saw something on The View about putting tincle in your hair to make it sparkle. I think she meant “tinsel”. I’m still not sure and I’m just not in the mood to ask her to elaborate.

    • Jay July 7, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

      I read that as tentacle, and was thoroughly freaked out.

  7. Sydney @ Social Dynamics July 12, 2011 at 10:01 pm #

    I quite agree, reading can make the world of difference when it comes to writing, or at least attempting to write.lols. It makes you more coherent and concious of your writing voice, and sometimes reading intensely can actually transpire into mimicking the author’s style. So it’s necessary to focus and find your style, and re-read your draft a million times before pushing that submit button.