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Is Texting Writing

By Expert Author: Billy Alexander

A good example...
The following is an email from a student who forgot to identify his audience. It was sent to Jonathan Alexander, associate professor of English at the University of Cincinnati, who teaches courses in writing and technology:
"do u still have those blank postcards cuz i need to put my final postcard on one. if u do can u bring it to class on friday?"
Ignoring the goofs in capitalization for the moment, how do you think Professor Alexander might have reacted to this email? Not only is an email like that inappropriate for a professor, it fails to send a coherent message. One writer said that he judged the clarity of his own writing by the number of times a reader "stumbled" over the meaning of a given sentence. If we send texts to readers who are unaccustomed to texting, they will have to do two things simultaneously: they will have to read to understand, plus they will have to translate. The translation becomes necessary because readers must convert single letters, abbreviations, and the unusual word forms of texting into complete words, and that I believe invites readers to stumble.
We do know that texting is not going away. Writer Suzanne Choney agrees while pointing to a new report by the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project: "Three-quarters of teens use text messaging, and the volume of texting among teens has risen from fifty texts a day in 2009 to sixty... in 2011."
So, go ahead and text away to friends, family, or to anyone who is NOT going to grade your writing. But if you're writing for a teacher, if you're writing an essay or book report, texting is a no-no. It's up to the student, of course, but I don't think students want to see teachers wad up the writing and send it back with nothing but a gigantic question mark. To be safe, all you have to do is make sure you use the right tone, style, and vocabulary appropriate for a given audience. If you're still not sure, let someone else read it, someone who can pretend to be your audience.

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