THE BRAZEN CAREERIST- Shut up: Typos aren't today's biggest problem
Will everyone please shut up about typos? Show me someone who's blogging every day and also complains about someone's typos. Just try. See? You can't. Because anyone who's trying to come up with fresh ideas and convey them in an intelligent, organized way, on a daily basis, has way too many things on their plate to complain about other people's typos.
There's a new economy. The focus has shifted to taking risks with conversation and ideas and away from hierarchical input and perfection.
As the world of content and writing shifts, the spelling tyrants will be left behind. Here are four reasons why complaining about typos is totally outdated.
1. Spellchecker isn't perfect.
Everyone knows that Spellchecker misses some words. And everyone knows that sometimes we think we're making a stylistic choice when we've actually made a grammar error.
And anyway, it's nearly impossible for us to catch the errors that Spellchecker misses. If it were tenable to proofread one's own stuff, then there would never have been a copy editor to begin with. And there's research to show that if the first and last letter of a word are correct, our brain adjusts for all the letters in between. (My personal favorite of all Spellchecker problems: form and from. Try it— there are so many cases when both words will get past Spellchecker.)
So don't bitch to me that I should use Spellchecker.
2. Spelling has nothing to do with intelligence.
Usually, the person who's bitching about spelling errors also has to make some comment about how the blogger or co-worker in question is a moron— but you might want to rethink the idea that a spelling error is a sign of incompetence.
Many people with dyslexia are very smart. Most kids who win spelling bees have many signs of Asperger's syndrome (see the documentary on this, which I love). This means that many amazing spellers actually have brains that are developing intellectual skills (in this case, spelling skills) at the expense of social skills.
So people who have spelling problems might be super intelligent with great social skills—if you'd just take the time to notice.
3. Employees today have unlimited time, so spend it on ideas, not hyphens.
I'm extremely knowledgeable about grammar. I can parse any sentence. I can sing the preposition song in my sleep. So I feel fine telling you that there are great writers who don't know grammar.
Real grammarians, by the way, have memorized the AP Stylebook. Newspapers and magazines have people who are paid to enforce these rules. There's no way a blogger could hire for this, and few bloggers can justify spending the years it takes to memorize the AP Stylebook. You can spend your life reading the AP Stylebook or you can spend your life spouting ideas.
So what if your ideas have hyphens in the wrong places and you turn an adverb into a noun? People can almost always figure out what you're saying, but they won't care enough to try without a great idea lurking there to make it worth their effort. And there's a reason that people who have amazing ideas get paid 20 times more than people who have amazing grammar: Ideas are worth more.
4. Perfectionism is a disease.
If errors bother you a lot, consider that you might be a perfectionist, which is a disorder. Perfectionists are more likely to be depressed than other people because no amount of work seems like enough. They're more likely to be unhappy with their work because delegating is nearly impossible. And they're more likely to have social problems because people so mired in details cannot look up and notice the nuances of what really matters.