Category: social media

Does Grammar Matter On Facebook and Social Media

I have always believed that grammar is not the most important thing when it comes to personal blogging, facebook, and social media. I think social media should be a more relaxed place to go, where we do more socializing than anything else. And no one likes the grammar police. In fact, I’ll take it one more step and state that I don’t really care if something is misspelled when it comes to social media…and that includes blogging. Most mistakes on social media are innocent and we all know the person who makes the mistake most likely knows better anyway.

In the same respect, I have to admit that I’ve been on the fence about this at times. I know authors do tend to pay closer attention to grammar everywhere, not just in books. And I know that a lot of people would disagree with me and say that grammar does matter on social media…especially if you are a writer or a professional of any kind. I actually do proof most of what I do on social media, and if I see that I’ve made a mistake I’ll either apologize for it or I’ll try to fix it. I even do this with comments I’ve left on threads at times.

If you don’t watch these things and you are a writer…or a professional of any kind…you run the risk of looking like an idiot. And that’s as plain and simple as it gets. No one knows how you personally feel about grammar on social media, and if you aren’t careful you might wind up doing something like this:

“In exactly 1 month from this hear day I will be done school and done student teaching!! It’s been a long time coming and a very long time overdo but I can’t not wait to finally be done school!!! I will finally have my teaching certificate and be certified to teach in Pennsylvania!!!! :-D”
This direct quote above was taken from an update on facebook from someone I know personally, but not very well. She’s not an author, and she has no intention of becoming one in the near future. Unfortunately, after reading more than a few issues in that status update, I drew conclusions and formed an immediate opinion about her. Of course I know her back story, but if I didn’t I might have come to the same conclusions just based on the above quote.
She has been studying to be a school teacher…full time…for the past eight years. She has not worked at all. She’s only been working toward a teaching dregree. That alone should tell you something about her. It takes most people four years, full time, to become a school teacher. That’s how long it took my sister, and more than a few friends I know. So if someone is in school full time studying to become a teacher and it takes them eight years, there could be something wrong.
And what’s even worse is that after eight years of studying to be a teacher she can’t even post a basic update on facebook and get the grammar right. If she had been studying anything else I wouldn’t have even noticed this update. But she’s going to be a teacher, and she’s going to be lecturing and speaking this way to kids on a daily basis someday. And when I see something like this I not only wonder what’s going on in teaching school these days, but also what’s going on in our public schools if people like this are allowed to be teachers.
I wish I could say this person knows better and she was just speaking in slang when she said, “I will be done school,” or when she wrote “hear” instead of “here.” But I know for a fact that’s not the case. And now a lot of other people know this, too. She clearly doesn’t know any better. And that’s when I have to wonder whether or not grammar really does matter on social media. As I said, I’m not perfect and I’m sure I make mistakes all the time because I’m fast. And I’m sure that when I’ve made mistakes people have formed opinions about me. But it just doesn’t seem right coming from someone who is going to be teaching kids how to speak, read, and write. So I think I’m going to be paying more attention to what I put out there in the future.

Should Web Site Owners and Social Media Be Held Accountable?

Earlier this week I posted about an incident of Internet crime where a young man allegedly stalked minors on facebook with fake identities and sockpuppet accounts.

Tonight I read this article:

A substitute teacher at a Georgia high school has been fired after he allegedly took photos of a female student in class and posted them to the Internet, authorities said. He is now being investigated by the local Sheriff’s office, Fox Atlanta reports.
The teacher, whose identity has not been released, allegedly posted covert photos of an East Coweta High School student to the “CreepShots” forum on Reddit. The subsection, which carries an “18 and over” disclaimer, is devoted to photos of women taken without their knowledge.

When someone on reddit complained and threatened to contact the authorities, this is how the reddit moderator replied:

“When you are outside and in public space, you do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy,” the user wrote, likening photography without consent to the relationship between celebrities and paparazzi.

It’s an interesting article that gets into this in more detail, with examples of how Anderson Cooper made comments in 2011 with a similar situation.

I know nothing about Reddit, or what people do there. But it’s obviously a web site that does not vet what users are doing or the photos they are posting. If they were, you wouldn’t see photos of minors posted in a forum called “creepshots.” And I think it’s time for them to be held accountable, as businesspeople. I have a sense of humor, I’m not holier than thou, as Joe Konrath would say, but I do think that when “creep” photos of minors are taken in a classroom and posted on a public Internet forum, there’s something wrong with the web site…as a business…itself.

Why aren’t Internet businesses, like facebook and reddit, forced to follow the same laws other businesses follow. Why are web sites and social media allowed to instigate corruption by allowing users to post sexually suggestive photos of minors, and why are they allowed to encourage fake identities that many times lead to crimes of bullying, victimization, and stalking?

Try owning a restaurant, or a retail clothing store, and allowing some of your customers to put up photos of minors on a bulletin board next to the cash register and see what happens. The business owner would be held just as responsible as the person who posted them on the board. I’ve owned several service/retail businesses and I took full responsibility for my actions and the actions of my employees at the time, because I knew that one wrong move would involve a lawsuit I didn’t want to deal with.

Not so much with Internet businesses. They get away with anything they want, and they do it with a sense of entitlement we haven’t seen since the days of the old Wild West. They seem to have free range to post, do, or allow anything they want…even at the cost of someone else’s security and well-being. In many cases with minors.

I believe in freedom of speech, and I know personally what it’s like to be censored by mistake. All I’m saying is that all Internet businesses, including all social media, should be held accountable if and when something does happen that is questionable. And I think posting photos of young women in classrooms on reddit falls into that catergory.

Do You Think Kids Should Be On Facebook?

I find this all very fascinating. And before I get to the link with a survey, I’ll explain why I find it fascinating. A friend of mine with a 13 year old son recently had a problem with FB. Like all his friends, the 13 year old wanted to be on FB because everyone else is doing it. He’s a good kid and never had any serious problems in school. A and B student; gets along well with everyone.

So my friend let his son set up an account and my friend started to monitor the 13 year old’s posts. Sounds fine so far, doesn’t it? All happiness and love in the Internet age. The 13 year old will post thoughtful, meaningful sayings and quotes and photos about love and harmony. And he’ll live HEA.

But like most kids this age, the 13 year old knows how to navigate the web and how to set up his own FB accounts. And like all teenagers ever born to mankind, they tend to lie every now and then. I’ve never met one that didn’t and you can’t hold it against them. It’s part of growing up. So while my friend thought he was monitoring the real account, his 13 year old was having a good old time with the fake account.

The 13 year wound up getting into trouble over something very small…something he’d posted on FB. He was arguing with another kid about something stupid…like all kids do…and he told the other kid he would kick his ass if he didn’t shut up. The father of the other kid, the politically correct type, saw this and complained to the school…even though it happened off campus. My friend’s kid wound up with a three-day out of school suspension, which will remain on his record forever, because of a zero tolerance policy most schools have these days (they really don’t screw around anymore).

I’ve heard other stories that are more serious than this with kids on FB. And, my friend’s kid and the kid he was arguing with on FB are now best friends again. Kids do things like that, which is why they are called kids. They argue and they make up and it’s all forgotten the next day. But the suspension on his record won’t be. When he applies to college, it will be taken into consideration.

If it hadn’t been for FB, I’m not sure my friend’s son would have had any trouble. How many times do kids argue outside of school and no one thinks twice about it? They usually wind up being friends again. But once it’s in writing on social media like FB, it’s there forever and can be misinterpreted and turned around in many different ways.

I’m also wary about letting kids under 13 on FB because I know so much about social media, especially FB. It’s not a simple place to be. This morning when a newscaster in Philadelphia spoke about kids on FB she actually said something like this, “I don’t see anything wrong with kids under 13 on FB as long as the parents monitor it. I have friends who set up fake FB accounts so they can monitor their baby sitters’ FB accounts.” Yes, she said this on TV, without even thinking twice about saying it. She saw nothing wrong with setting up fake FB accounts to spy on someone else. This becomes a more complicated issue. It becomes a matter of ethics, not to mention safety. Fake identities on social media are probably the biggest drawback of social media these days. And to promote them, and laugh at them on TV, makes me think twice about whether or not kids under 13 should be exposed to it.

I also have other friends with kids in their teens. They do not allow their kids to be on FB until they are over eighteen. They are more focused on sending their kids to good schools, working toward getting them into good colleges, and keeping them away from things like FB. When I say they spend a good deal of their lives monitoring what their kids are doing in every respect, I’m not exaggerating. And these kids aren’t even on social media.

If I had kids, I’m not sure how I would react. I can’t say that I would embrace them being on FB under the age of eighteen. But I can say for certain they wouldn’t be on FB under the age of 13. That wouldn’t happen. The Internet is too creepy, it’s too furtive, and there are no signs of this improving any time soon. I’ve seen too much on FB and other social media to think otherwise. As long as the anonymity is perpetuated, the problems will be there. What someone will do with his or her real name and identity seems to be very different than what they will do with a fake name and identity. And I don’t like that. I would feel that it is my responsibility to protect my kids under 13 from that kind of environment. I kind of look at FB the same way I look at defensive driving. Everyone else on the road is a potential hazard and I take nothing for granted.

Here’s an article about the subject, with an interesting survey.

Facebook Shares Drop…

The main reason I’m following all the attention facebook is getting is because I’m fascinated at what will be the outcome of social media. I think the final outcome of facebook will set a precedent. So far there are too many predictions and there’s not enough evidence. I have my own opinions, but I’m not going to share.

Let’s just say I’m not investing any of my own money in facebook stock right now (well, maybe just a little, because I couldn’t resist).

What worries me is I remember the late 90’s – early 2000’s, when all the Internet stocks that were supposed to bust wide open all tanked. I know too many people who lost too much money back then. It changed their lives to the point where some were never able to recover. Trust me, I knew more than a few who were going to become instant millionaires with their “dot coms.” The problem was they didn’t know what the hell they were doing.

What bothers me is that I have this feeling a lot of people don’t know…or understand…the magnitude of facebook and social media. All they know is what they read, hear, and see from the mainstream media…which is lame at best. I didn’t put up that old man in the photo above by accident. And I didn’t mean it as a slur to facebook.

Here’s an article from CNET about the latest happenings with facebook.

Facebook’s shareholders can’t catch a break.

The company’s stock today is trading down to $29.44, shedding $2.46, or about 8 percent, of its market-opening price. The decline comes the same day trading on Facebook was opened to the options market. According to Dow Jones, about 162,000 Facebook options were traded by 9 a.m. PT this morning.

Facebook’s continuing decline has struck fear among investors, who wonder how low the company’s shares might fall. Facebook went off earlier this month at $38, only to watch its stock plummet in subsequent days. At its current price, Facebook shares are down more than 23 percent since the IPO.

It’s worth reading the entire article, in full. There are some very interesting links.

Things Authors Should Know About Social Media

I ran across an interesting blog post titled, 25 Things You Should Know About Social Media. You can get there from here.

I agree with most of the things in this post, especially this one:

Writers are content creators, and so it behooves us to share what we love. You’re generally better off showing positivity rather than sowing the seeds of negativity. For the most part, the Internet is a monster that thrives the rage of countless disaffected white people, so I don’t know that it does a writer good to be a part of that noise. Your audience cares more about what you’re into rather than what you’re not. After all, I don’t particularly care for a lot of things. Most things, really. If I spent all my time talking about them, I’d be little more than a septic social fountain spewing my bitter froth into the world.

I’m going to add my own comment here. In some cases, I have seen writers get immediate attention with social media by being extremely aggressive, insulting, and negative. I’ve seen them get into flame wars and bitter confrontation…in public for all to witness. And yes, they do get attention for a while. But I’ve also seen that after people listen to them rant long enough, they grow tired and forget all about them eventually. I have never once seen anyone who does things simply for shock value survive. One of the things authors need to know is that you’re in this for the duration, at least you’re supposed to be. And if you attract a huge following in the beginning based on shock value and negativity, you might wind up regretting it in the end.

And for me, one of the biggest turn offs is when I see authors discussing politics too much…unless of course you have a viable political platform. But if you don’t have a political background or platform, I don’t care which end of the political spectrum you’re on. Niether does anyone else.

This is a good one, too. It’s well put, in plain English:

Show the World You’re Not a Raging Bonerhead
The Internet is like hot dogs: it’s made of lips and assholes. A writer does well to set himself aside from all that and use social media to reveal that he is, indeed, not a giant bucket of non-contributing human syphilis.

Here’s another link, titled The 18 Most Annoying People on Facebook. This one is a little more difficult because we’ve all probably been guilty of one or two of these things in the past. But that doesn’t mean we have to continue to make the same mistake time and again.

What’s Foursquare?

I joined another social network about a month ago called Foursquare, thanks to a facebook friend I met about a year ago. Incidentally, this facebook friend lives about three miles away from me. We’re not just blowing smoke up each others butts through cyberspace. Had it not been for facebook, I probably wouldn’t have gotten to know this guy at all.

Here’s a web address to Foursquare,, so you can see what it’s all about (for some reason the link won’t work). I think you can either use an iPhone or an Android to do this. After fifteen years of having the same cell phone plan, and basically the same cell phones which I upgraded every two years when I signed a new contract, I decided to switch to an iPhone and I’m starting to really enjoy it.

From what I’ve gathered so far, Foursquare is a social network about locations, linking people together all over the world. I’m just starting out and I don’t have as many friends as other people on Foursquare. But I saw that one of my friends is my good blogging buddy, Mary Gersham, and a few other people I’ve known online for a while. And, just to keep it real, I’ve met other local people in my area just through Foursquare. One of them is a really nice guy who owns furniture business near Princeton, NJ, which isn’t far from where I live. He’s also a very hot guy, too. But that’s another story for another post.

Now, if your only goal with social media is to promote yourself as an author…or as anything else…I’m not sure Foursquare is the right social network for you. But then again, if you’re only using social media to promote yourself, you’re missing the entire point of social media and you probably shouldn’t be there in the first place. The sad fact is that while people might want to get to know you as a person on social media, they couldn’t care less about the book you wrote until they get to know you. This is huge mistake I’ve seen authors do since social media started getting popular. And there’s nothing more annoying than receiving a private message or a blunt announcement that says something to the effect of “Read my book, etc…” The first thing I do when I see these things is delete. I’m sure others do the same thing, too.

But Foursquare seems to be fun. You can “check in” to destinations wherever you are. I stopped at my local Farm Market last Sunday, Maximucks, which is located, literally, in the middle of nowhere, and I was able to check in there. The owners were stunned they were even on Foursquare. You can also become “mayor” if you check in often enough. I think you can go even higher than that. You receive points, and information about dining out. And if you travel a lot, I would imagine it can come in handy in more ways than one.

I’ll post more about it as I learn more about it. Right now I’m still at that stage where I’m learning the basics and making a few mistakes. I have “badges” and I’m not sure how to use them. But you can follow me there with my name, Ryan Field.

Grammar Police and Social Media

I have a nephew who is always posting different photos on social media, usually facebook. And each time he posts a photo there is always a caption that reads like this: “Me and my friend,” or “Me and my Mom.” Of course it’s grammatically incorrect. And this particular nephew is 29 years old, he’s a doctor, and he’s well above average in the IQ department. If he’d gone through 12 years of Catholic school like I did, Sister Unforgiving in the photo above would have smacked his fingers with that ruler.

But my nephew is not the only one I see doing this on social media. To be honest, I’m often tempted do to it myself just to see if I could get away with it. When it comes to social media, from blogging to facebook to twitter, I’ve always believed it’s supposed to be casual and free from grammar police. I also believe that language, grammar, and communication in general change and evolve with time. And when more people use something that’s normally considered grammatically incorrect, it might be time to change the rules a little. Ending a sentence with a preposition is a good example. There was a time, not too long ago, when it was considered wrong to end any sentence with a preposition. Now it’s done all the time, it’s perfectly acceptable, and it’s the way people actually speak. Communication evolves; some of the things we thought were important two hundred years ago don’t apply anymore.

So I don’t mind when I see these small grammatical errors on social media. I don’t mind when I see huge grammatical errors on social media either, because this is the way people speak on a daily basis. And, the key word here is “social.” We’re not talking about “educational” media. We’re not talking about “bore-me-to-death” media. I think this is especially true when it comes to personal blogging. Nothing irritates me more than when I see a fool correct someone’s grammar on a blog or social media…or on a comment thread. It. Doesn’t. Matter. It. Is. Casual.

And yet I see it all the time, especially with regard to authors, editors, and publishers. There are people who must seriously believe that because authors, editors, and publishers work on books where grammar should be excellent at all times they don’t deserve a break on social media. Most of the time it’s the smallest mistake that people will single out and mention, in public, to the author, without giving it a second thought.

Personally, I think it’s highly inappropriate to correct someone in public, on social media, with regard to grammar. I don’t care what line of work they do either, and this includes authors or anyone connected to publishing. To correct someone in public on social media is basically the same as correcting someone’s grammar at a cocktail party. It’s bad manners, which is far worse than poor grammar. I tend to believe the people who do this on social media are also the same types of people who would do this at a cocktail party (I’d bet most don’t get invited out often).

Unfortunately, the people who do this all the time probably won’t even read this post. They will continue on, correcting people on social media, boring us all to death with their snide tongue-in-cheek comments and we’ll have to ignore them. But if someone does, indeed, correct you on a blog or any other social media, don’t worry. Don’t give it a second thought. Because this is not someone you need to care about or know.