QWERTY murderer strikes: RIP Txt-Spk

QWERTY murderer strikes: RIP Text-SpeakIt is with much regret that we announce the violent death of Text-Speak, by the introduction of QWERTY keypads in this new, cruel and heartless generation of mobile communications.

That endearing, abbreviated form of written communication necessitated by the previous generations of cellphones has passed away to the great cybernet in the sky.

Txt-Spk, as it was affectionately known, grew out of earlier phones’ requirement to press a number button umpteen times in order to put up a letter.

That, combined with the ludicrous anticipatory text facility devised by the gnomes of Silicon Valley, obliged anyone with a brain to cut back on all but vital letters and numbers in text (SMS) messages.

O, how weel mss U!

It’s so sad to think that these curt, abbreviated abortions of the English (and other) languages are never to be seen again, purely because more recent gnomes in Silicon Valley and elsewhere have come up with smartphones that allow users to type whole messages in full, quickly, using QWERTY keyboards.

What a sad day for the burgeoning creativity that Txt-Spk spawned! Where can we go now to find all those imaginative, squeezed derivatives of common words and phrases that became such an important part of our lives?

Think ROFL … ROFLMAO … PMSL … LOL … PLZ … TIA … l8tr … CU … and hundreds more.
All confined to the garbage can of internet history.

Y? O Y?

Freedom! Liberation from the strictures of Txt-Spk, thanks to the evolution of these QWERTY keyboard options on smartphones! Or so you might think at least. But this may not necessarily be the case.

We spoke to (well, texted, actually) 17-year-old Wayne Grunt, a former Txt-Spk expert from Croydon, England, who has now moved up to an IPhone. What was his reaction to his new freedom to write easily, in full?

“FFS,” Wayne lamented, “ I cnt fckn spll so how d-fck cn I xprss mslf wit al dese lttrs to Uz?”

His girlfriend Chardonnay Slutte, also 17 and from Croydon, responded: “Ma GFs an me h8s doz lttrs. Y dz we nEds 2 wryt prprly? U gotta B tkn D pss.”

QWERTY: the merciless killer

Well, QWERTY, you have managed to infiltrate the entire domain of mobile communications now due to your keyboards’ incorporation into near-as-dammit every mobile device currently on the market.

Have you no shame?

Do you wish to annihilate Txt-Spk forever?

Because if that is the case, we are going to experience an even more ridiculous b*ggeration of the English language than Txt-Spk could even have dreamt of. How can you be so cruel as to expect users to learn how to spell, for Heaven’s sake?

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

QWERTY murderer strikes: RIP Text-SpeakThere aren’t many advantages to being on the wrong side of 50, but there is one : we learned touch-typing on typewriters.

Back in those dim dark ages of the 1970s, typewriters used almost exactly the same QWERTY keyboards modern mobile devices use now.

While newbies pick at the modern QWERTY keyboard looking for the letters, we old goats are in our element.

Revenge is sweet…

Now, let’s put some life into your writing…

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“How To Write Winning Non-fiction”…all you need to know to write a good non-fiction book and get it published


photo credit: Nina Matthews Photography via photopin cc
photo credit: Eric Fischer via photopin cc

Is email dead?

According to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg back in June 2010, “email – I can’t imagine life without it – is probably going away.” Was she right? Here are my thoughts, and I look forward to reading yours…

It seems that by Sandberg’s calculations only about 11 percent of teenagers were using email at that time – significantly less than their parents did. Maybe it was wishful thinking on Facebook’s part, but they seem to think the next generation will dump email in favor of texting/SMS plus messages and live chats on social networks.

Having grown up back in the dark ages of telephones, typewriters, faxes and snailmail, I’m not complaining. Typewriters were a pain in the ass and broke more of my fingernails than housework, horses, and children ever did.

My fax machines would spew forth from their rolls of shiny toilet paper, dropping pages all over the floor for the cats to play with and the dogs to chew. The only upside was our charming Mr Mailman who helped old ladies cross the village streets and expected us to turn a blind eye to his voracious, noisy affair with the baker’s wife.

But then we got the internet. And we got EMAIL!

Email in its early days was a very expensive luxury

In the late 1980s I was told by a conference production company for whom I had worked for several years that should I wish to continue doing freelance work for them, I would need to invest somewhere around £2,000-£3,000 (USD $3,200-$4,900) in an email system which would allow them to tell me whether or not my bid for whatever scriptwriting services had been accepted or rejected.

That was a lot of money then and needless to say I didn’t do it. (Amusingly enough neither did most of their other suppliers so they had to eat humble pie and abandon the idea.)

But it does make me smile to think that in just over 20 years we’ve gone from email being an expensive posh luxury, to its current status as a free commodity that’s nearly obsolete, if you listen to the Sheryl Sandbergs of this world.

So could we do without email?

I think the people who rant on about email being snuffed out by the messages you can send on these dinky clever phones and from person to person on the online social platforms, are missing one rather important point.

Until the dinky phones and the social media inflate themselves by somewhat more than 140 characters, email – as far as I know – is the only way for ordinary mortals to communicate larger amounts of information electronically.

Speaking as a professional writer and author, I’d love to know how Sheryl Sandberg’s teenagers, once a bit older, would send a 50,000 word book manuscript to a publisher via text/SMS, Twitter or Facebook.

(And I’d love to know how the thousands of organisations using email for marketing purposes would shoehorn themselves entirely into the bijou platforms, despite maybe running complementary campaigns on text/SMS, Google Ads and the like.)

Still an important part of our writing and communication toolbox

I have to admit that these days I tend to set up meetings and do other simple communication jobs using text/SMS or Facebook, as an alternative to exchanging emails. And the live chat facilities somehow seem less of a palaver to use than that ancient artefact called a telephone.

But I would hate to see email disappear. It may be replaced in part by the bijou online media but for the heavyweight stuff, I reckon it’s here to stay.

Do you agree?

And if you agree, here’s some help with your email writing:

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English