For the past few years, I’ve occasionally slash consistently bitched about different social media platforms for myriad reasons via both my blog and column in Rage Monthly. Now, any sane, rational individual who hates social media so much would, you know, delete Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and never look back.
The jokes on you! I never said I was sane or rational.
Perhaps I’m a masochist, crazy, or just a dumbass for staying active on social media? Maybe I want something to bitch about, and that’s why I keep an online presence? Could I even be a hypocrite for complaining so much about my experience with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter since my profiles are still functional?
Here’s the truth, and whether you choose to believe it or not is entirely up to you: I stay up to date on social media so that I can easily share my writing. That’s it. If I didn’t have blog articles, columns, and novels to promote, I don’t think I’d have an online presence. Obviously, it’s possible I would, but seeing as how I don’t plan to stop writing any time in the foreseeable future, I guess we’ll never know. In a way, I have a business: writing. Writing is my business. One of the best, most effective ways to promote your business is with social media.
That being said, social media can be a painful place . . . especially for the few of us who know the difference between “you’re” and “your.” I know, baby; grammar is hard! (Insert eye roll.) And don’t get me started if you use “ur.” If that’s you, stop reading immediately and punch yourself in the face.
Grammar takes a hard beating daily, and it ain’t pretty! It’s so ugly in fact, that I’ve recently decided to extend the public social distancing orders to social media. That’s right: I’m social media distancing myself from the uncultivated masses. Six feet away, six unfollows a day.
For this particular blog article, I’m not discussing where you stand on the stay-at-home orders, whether or not states should be allowed to open back up, or if Donald Trump was actually being sarcastic when he made the comment about injecting disinfectant. Just so we’re clear where I stand on that last matter, though: What a fucking toolbox!
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Everyone is permitted to share that opinion. People everywhere are going through extremely dark, difficult times, and for many different circumstances. It’s great to have outlets (i.e. social media) to share and connect with others facing the same problems. However, it’s very hard to take someone seriously when they can’t even properly string a sentence together.
I’ve seen so many people take to Facebook to display their feelings—that’s great. If posting your feelings or concerns on social media allows you to clear your mind and gives you comfort for even a handful of seconds, then do it. Do whatever it is you need to do to offer yourself some relief. I’m not arguing that. My concern is how you present those feelings and concerns.
Here’s the tea: If you want your point of view to mean something, to be significant, then prove you at least have the tiniest bit of knowledge when it comes to spelling and grammar. Otherwise, you lose your credibility. You don’t necessarily have to know what a compound adjective is, but you should understand that you don’t “seen” anything.
I’m not perfect by any means. I’m probably one of the worst spellers on the planet. I was in a local spelling bee in the third grade. Guess who was the first participant to be eliminated? Yep, yours truly! To this day, I still remember the word I missed: sent. Yes, sent, as in, my mother sent me to the store. My fool self said: c-e-n-t. (Insert another eye roll.)
I also make grammatical mistakes all of the time! Hell, sometimes I don’t know where to place a comma and often have to consider for a few moments which option is proper: Sarah Jessica Parker and me or Sarah Jessica Parker and I? When I make these errors, I quickly try to correct them. That’s one of the best aspects of social media: You can always go back and edit your posts.
Speaking of grammatical mistakes, it’s only fair to address the elephant in the room (no, not my fat ass thanks to these extra quarantine pounds): my first two traditionally published novels. Unfortunately, The Next Victim and ‘Til Death—the former in particular—manuscripts went to print with errors. Too many errors. Errors that should have been caught and fixed before the books were published and purchased. Though I do believe the books can still be enjoyed (my mom tells me this, anyway), knowing this happened is embarrassing and extremely unprofessional. Not to mention, highly amateur.
I will say that it’s common for established, bestselling authors (this is not me—not even close) to have published works with noticeable mistakes or typos in them. It happens. Why? No one and nothing is perfect. It’s that simple. Yet, my novels—specifically TNV—had blatant errors throughout that should have been caught. While I don’t think I’m fully at fault for this, my name is front and center on the book jackets, so I’ll take the brunt this time.
The books are now out of print, but before this occurred, the publisher released newer editions, which hopefully are easier to read. Going forward, all I can do—all any of us can do—is learn from prior mistakes and try not to repeat them. And always give the content just one more read-through before publishing or printing—this is vital, too.
Moving on, because I don’t need any more heat on me (a bitch is getting sunburnt), I know some people will argue, “It’s just Facebook! Who cares if my posts are grammatically correct or not?” Yes, it is only Facebook or Instagram, not a term paper to later be graded. Still, and like I said before, no one is going to take you seriously if you can’t even be trusted to know something as simple as the difference between “we’re” and “were.”
It’s not about having a high level of education or knowing the complete ins and outs of grammar. It’s really about having enough thought and care to present yourself as a comprehending, adult human being.
Simply put: It’s about (yes, I stole this, but it’s fitting) knowing your shit or knowing you’re shit.
(Side note: Wouldn’t it be ironic if this article was full of errors? If you happen to catch any, they were made on purpose in an attempt to make this experience a learning moment. You’re/Your welcome.)
Miriam baieR says
Good advice. And Let’s not firgrt those who think were is spelled wheRe. I’m surprised By the number of people who sure seen lots of stuff. And, don’t get me started on there, their and they’re!! I’m aLways game for An editing assignment; i’ve got lots of time on my hands — and I’m a former LOgan County spelling bee champion!!!