Are Formalities and Proper English Lost in Cyber Space?

Technology brings people together.  It makes it easier to connect, communicate, and share information.  I’m a HUGE proponent of technology!  I have my iPhone, with apps for finding a Starbucks, managing my money, checking traffic,  keeping shopping lists, etc.  I use Facebook to keep in touch with old friends and new, to share information about my life with people who *hopefully* care, and occasionally share a random link/video.  I use all sorts of different apps and communication tools in both my personal and professional life.  Technology is, in a word, awesome.

You may sense a big ‘but’ coming, and you’re right.  While I LOVE technology, I’m concerned that certain formalities are being lost in cyberspace.  I’m a fairly laid-back person, and for the most part I’m not big on formalities, but I fear that younger generations who grew up with all this technology don’t understand how technology could hurt their credibility with future employers.

It used to be that all a potential employer knew about you was what you put on your resume and what you told them in an interview.  More and more often I hear stories of people being fired for comments/pictures posted on their Facebook page.  I have even interviewed one candidate who sheepishly admitted to having been asked to resign after posting some slanderous comments about his employer on Facebook after a particularly frustrating day at work.  It seems like people don’t understand that if you put it out there, ANYONE can find it, including people you may not want to see it.  You may say that emails, Facebook, twitter, etc., are for personal use only, but . . . if it’s out there, it’s fair game.

The other day, I reviewed a written questionnaire that I asked a candidate to fill out, and found on more than one occasion the candidate had used texting contractions in place of real words.  Instead of “your” he used “ur”, and instead of “by the way” he used ‘btw.’  It concerns me that these contractions and informalities are starting to leak into what SHOULD be more formal communication.  I get that it’s easier to text “ur” instead of “your”, but if I’m reading a resume, a questionnaire, or even a blog post, I still expect/hope to see decent grammar and spelling.  These are documents where you want to put your best foot forward, and I would argue that they are formal communication (blog posts being slightly less so, but still).  If I’m being honest, I still hope to see correct spelling and grammar on Facebook, too . . . I feel old and out-of-touch for saying this, but I find those contractions slightly off-putting, personally.  That aside, my point is that there’s a time for informalities, and there’s a time for proper spelling and grammar.  Is it possible that young adults these days so immersed in technology that the line between is becoming blurred?

I don’t want to be down on technology, or younger generations.    Some of our greatest products have been shaped by the combination of Technology and Gen X, Y, and even now some millennial’s.  AND I’m not a proponent of formality for the sake of formality.  While technology is definitely moving us forward, perhaps keep in mind that it can also hinder based on how you use it, and what information you put out there.  Just a thought that you may want to consider if you use these on your resume or while interviewing.

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