Your Mizspling Kept Me From Following You

I was sent into this rant blog post by a new Twitter follower – a web designer. I’m pretty ‘old school’ when it comes to Twitter, and I only follow back people I feel might actually add value to my stream. First glance, this person looked like a possibility. I clicked through to the website and the first thing I saw (literally) was that the main TITLE on the homepage had a major typo.

One of the memorable comments I received from an (excellent) student in the Internet marketing program where I teach was that she was “shocked” to get her first paper back marked up with so many ‘tracked changes’ from Word.


She felt overwhelmed by all the mistakes in a paper she thought was pretty good.

And I completely understand her dismay (and still feel bad about provoking it). I’ve been in the same position myself, and I know how overwhelming it can be to feel like someone is correcting every. little. thing.

But I’m such a HUGE believer in the power of being able to share your thoughts in writing, that I can’t help myself. The only way to improve your writing is to get honest and thoughtful feedback, and I always try to give that.

(Side note: This may be a genetic defect. My daughter actually edits very sincere and personal birthday messages, and returns them to the writer.)

As I said, I’ve been there. At one point in my career, I was writing client service materials for the company where I worked. By committee. I’d write; someone would rip it apart. I’d re-write; someone else would rip it apart. A more frustrating experience I cannot imagine. (To my credit, I was eventually inducted into the ‘comma police’ there because I seemed to be one of the few in the group who knew the proper use of that form of punctuation.)

But eventually, I got it. I understood just how important every single word is. How important every single punctuation mark is.

And that’s what I’m trying to instill in my students by giving them a lot of feedback. The power of language is enormous. The power of being able to express yourself clearly and professionally – in the age of the Internet – is far more than you may believe.

Sorry, you might be brilliant, but if your site has glaring typos you instantly lose credibility with me. Plus, I just don’t have the time to copyedit your whole website. (I may be able to get my daughter to do it, though.)

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