Has the Web advanced the written word?

Subject: Has the Web advanced the written word?
From: Ron Sering <rsering -at- USWEST -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 25 Sep 1998 09:24:28 -0600

Here's a topic for discussion on a Friday:

Someone once commented to me that the Internet, especially email, has
been a boon to written communication. Up to this point the Internet has
been primarily a text medium (witness the Starr report), and certainly
email is a hot competitor with long distance phone service as a means of
communication. But when I go to one of the online news services to read
a piece, I often find enough typos to send an editor out for a long
smoke break. It is the immediacy of the medium that explains it; the
language has gained spontaneity even as it has become less formal.

Even on this esteemed list there is a rule that spelling and grammar
errors should be overlooked. I completely agree with the rule, but what
does it mean for the language? Is using abrevs ;-) such as IMHO, TIA,
etc. an indication of a language evolving in a new medium or of its
degradation? And what about those Smileys? What is _that_ all about?

Well anyway: ruminations on a Friday. Net price: $.02

- Ron

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