Getting my attention

I’ve written 500+ blog posts and not until I developed a Starter Kit did I start getting so much direct email though the Contact me link on my blog. Of course, not all of it ends up reading like this (comment), far from it, rather let me give you an example:

i 2 m working on facebook app
i try install ur starter kit but it not appear
need u 2 send me solution urgent
i didn’t understand plz help

This kind of writing drives nuts. Perhaps if my kids were teens I might appreciate this a bit more but they’re 5, 3 and 1. While this isn’t an actual email it is representative and as you can imagine, not exactly the kind of thing I look forward to reading. I used to feel obligated to respond to nearly everyone who felt the desire to reach out to me via the Contact me link but seriously? I don’t know, and don’t really want to know, if there is a name for this “style” but I find it difficult and halting to read. How it makes sense to reach out to someone with a message like this asking for help? Yeah, this ain’t it.

Granted, in some cases it may simply be a language barrier but I’ve gotten plenty of messages written in this “style” where it’s pretty clear that’s not the case.

8 thoughts on “Getting my attention

  1. Steve,
    Whilst I heartily agree with the sentiments of your rant I feel it would carry more weight if you had written "they are 5, 3 and 1" or perhaps even "they’re 5, 3 and 1" instead of the incorrect use of "their".
    You could be accused of throwing stones from a glass house!

  2. Hi David,
    While you’re absolutely right about this mistake and thanks for pointing it out (fixed), IMO there is no comparison with the intentional writing style I’ve illustrated. Your comment would seem to imply there’s a chance individuals who write like this have perhaps made series of mistakes like mine which I would consider not only remote but practically impossible. When I get an otherwise well written email with the exception it has the kind of mistake I’ve made here I’m far more inclined to engage them than had they used the style illustated.

  3. I have to deal with this writing style at work. It appears to be endemic of individuals who text more they they write.

  4. Steve —
    I couldn’t agree with you more on all points. I particularly like the attitude that says "You did me the favor of creating this cool thing for me to use for free, therefore you must provide me with technical support right now!!!"

  5. Iman, thanks for the comment. I feel for you, I can’t stand reading that style and I’ll appreciate more the fact that it currently only impacts in this rather limited scope.
    Hey Nick!
    You hit it spot on, I’ve even had someone email me using this "style" and later followup saying something like "can’t u just git on IM and help me!!" Crazy.

  6. Steve,
    I really don’t want to go on about this, but……. I really didn’t mean that somebody might write in text-speak as a result of a series of accidental typos. That’s as likely as a troope on monkeys typing the complete works of Shakespeare. No, my point was that whenever you post criticising style, you really ought to be beyond reproach yourself.
    I can understand people of a certain age not being able to write due to declining school standards and expectations. It drives me potty because I’m a bit of a stickler for proper use of language (you probably worked that out already). Nick’s point is apposite though. It really is galling when people demand service without the grace to ask politely. Even if you have paid for and have rights to service you should be polite. Not least because it makes it more likely that the other person will try to help you.

  7. Hi David,
    Thanks for the followup and yes, I agree with you. To have the kind of mistake I made it what it is though fortunately, in this format, I have the luxury to correct the problem whereas in email it’s a done deal. 🙂 That said, I don’t think these two issues are related mine was an honest, while admittedly boneheaded mistake, whereas this "style" is clearly intentional.

  8. Steve, I agree with you completely. For a non-native English speaker it’s even worse – when I see single letters or numbers or unknown abbreviations, my brain reads them with Swedish pronunciation, which makes the process of actually understanding the text very slow. I call people writing like that "time-stealers" because that’s what they are.

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