Are telegrams ruining the way teenagers write?

One of the questions I was asked at the STC Summit was if I thought “text speak” (SMS messages) and Twitter were leading to a generation of teenagers who were incapable of writing properly. I replied that it was great that they were writing so often, and that it was encouraging them to write concisely and clearly.

If I had remembered, I would have mentioned that we’ve seen text speak before – in the era of telegrams. Nelson E. Ross’s “How to Write Telegrams Properly” provides advice on how to avoid waste when writing telegrams. It was mentioned on QI, but unfortunately, I cannot find the clip.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Language evolves, and we should welcome this.

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