maybe you've been reading my blog since it was first born in january of 2011 (i hope not because those posts are like, kind of scary) or maybe this is your first time reading my blog, but you've probably noticed one thing.
i don't capitalise anything.
i also spell things the british way and i'm not british in the slightest, but that's beside the point.
i don't like to capitalise things.
if i am on the internet, and i am on the internet quite frequently, i do not use capitalisation.
i've gotten a lot of flack for this from my uncle specifically, who's a principal. sometimes my dad will mention it. so the question is, why don't i capitalise anything on the internet, especially my blog posts?
1. it's an ode to e. e. cummings, one of my favourite poets. i haven't read him in a long time but he really shaped my formative years as an english major.
2. i like to write on the internet, specifically my blogs, like i speak.
my mom finds one major problem with this, and that's the language that i use my blog. two days ago she was like, "really emily, you don't use language like that at home." (language here means bad words. like shit.)
well, no. i don't.
but i try to write the way that i talk.
like, this is hella informal. i would never write like this in an academic paper. if you wanna know how eloquently i can write, here's an excerpt from an english paper that i wrote in college:
"Strictly from a narrative perspective, the monster Humber is characterized by a lowered writing style, strayed thoughts, and obsessions. The narrative style shies away from the usual long, winding, adjective-ridden sentences that the artist often employs, and settles for shorter, more succinct diction and syntax."
that's very different from me being like, "charlie cox makes me so thirsty like HOT DAMN, YA FEEL ME?"
i have a laid back blog, which is surprising, because i am not a laid back person. i am a very uptight and anxious person.
i'm pretty laid back on all forms on social media (and i'm on a lot of them), except when somebody posts some shit on facebook and i decide to get involved. then i turn into "emily with a bachelor's degree in english and rhetoric" and i will dismantle your entire argument succinctly and with as much flair as i can muster without using too many big words because i am condescending.
i don't do that that often. most of the time my facebook comments are like, GURRRRL YOU LOOKIN' GOOD.
the reason i'm blogging about how i blog and talk on the internet is because i had to read this hella boring chapter about netspeak, or speaking on the internet, for my linguistics class today. i did actually read the whole thing, i even printed it off and highlighted it, but i forgot that we had questions to answer, so guess who got a zero on that assignment?
oh well, i'm still getting an A in the class, so like, whatever.
this article was written in 2001 so it was hilarious. like, emojis weren't a thing. facebook wasn't a thing. so really it was just talking about emailing and how people use smiley faces like :) and :( and even *8-B, which was my favourite when i was in eighth grade, because buck-toothed nerd with an idea, right?!
in class today we talked about the differences between written speech and spoken speech. i thought about my blog and how i tried to write the way that i talk. but as you can tell from this very paragraph, i probably don't talk exactly like this.
this is because written language and spoken language are fundamentally different and english is primarily a written language. we value written language more than spoken language, which is why i'm able to write a twenty page paper on a single topic and sound like i actually know what i'm talking about.
most of the time i do. but sometimes i write papers drunk. and so it goes.
netspeak is a combination of written and spoken language. it's informal to a degree. i think it's safe to say that i'm hella informal. it meets the needs of whoever you're talking to online.
i'm talking to you. i don't know who you are, but i have a target audience, and that audience is primarily my facebook friends. most of them are my age. so basically, if you're in your early twenties, congrats, you're my target audience. i also know that my parents and sometimes my grandpa reads this, and who knows who else finds it? i have ways to check, and i have a small following in england, russia, and india.
if you're from there, hey. welcome to the midwest of america. it's warm and sunny currently and gay people can get fired for getting married. also, how did you find my blog?
i talk to people online in different ways, and i text people in different ways. when i text adam, i don't have to use as much context because he knows me so well. when i text my mother, i use lots of emojis because she likes them and they make her smile. when i text my dad, i text him full sentences with emojis. when i text hannah, it's most just like GURRRRL YOU SO SMOKIN' I LOVE YOU LET'S GET MARGARITAS and she's like, YAAAS GURRRL YAAAAAS and that's about how that goes.
that's very different than how i would email a professor.
i'm sure that you don't talk to your parents the way that you talk to your friends.
i get home from work and say, "hey mom!"
i see hannah's boyfriend and i yell "WHAT UP BRO HOW YA DOIN' KID" and i probably wouldn't yell that at my professor. or either of my bosses.
when i'm with adam, my swearing goes up about ninety percent. i say things that would make my mother cry. do i speak like that around her? of course not.
and does ANYBODY speak like they write college papers? hell no. super important literary critics and writers of all those boring science papers that you read? do they actually speak like that?
no. academic writing in the spoken world is worthless. i wrote a twenty page academic paper and i can sum it for you just like this: paula can't go through a door. osman can.
that was literally my twenty page paper and i can say it in eight words and you understand exactly what i mean, that paula cannot go through doors and that osman can.
when we speak, we take social cues. we hear each word individually as it's being spoken, and since our brains are like, super intense and amazing, they process each word individually so quickly that you don't even think about it until you've understood an entire sentence. we look at facial expressions and body posture and tone and all kinds of shit.
because of that, we don't need a lot of context.
in writing, there's a disconnect with your audience. like i said, you're reading this, and i don't know who you are. i don't know what you're thinking while you're reading this because i cannot see you, and you cannot see me. (i'm lounging in an armchair in my pajamas, by the way.) i have to write this in a way that you'll understand without you being able to see me or ask me questions or ask me to repeat myself.
and i still try to do it as informally and as naturally as possible.
blogging like this is difficult, kids, but i love it. and i do it for you as much as i do it for me.
we've been told a myth by old people. we've been told that being on our phones and texting and blogging is making us stupid. we've been told that kids today have melting brains and that they bring text speak into their homework and academic work.
THIS IS A LIE.
kids are smart enough to understand when and when not to employ texting lingo and informal speech. i blogged all through college, tweeted all through college, tumbled all through college, facebooked all through college, and did i ever say something like "lol" in a paper? nah.
people have done research on this. kids don't do it. it doesn't happen. it's a lie. maybe one kid will do it accidentally, but it's certainly not a trend.
also people that text and are on social media are more literate and score better on literacy exams. why? because texting is writing and reading. also kids that text more than their peers are better spellers.
we may not be reading novels like les miserables, but we're reading and it's helping us out.
so don't listen to those old people that complain about you being on your phone all the time. i'm on my phone all the time because i'm addicted to twitter (that's an entirely different post) and i'm talking to my boyfriend who lives 200 miles away and who i only get to see once every two months.
old people also think that we're like, totally tearing down the english language brick by brick by using text speech. researchers have concluded, over ten years of texting data, that only 10% of words in texts are actually abbreviated. like, lol and wtf and omg. 10%.
i dunno, man. that's not much, lol!
i only use phrases like lol to make a point when i'm writing. when i say lol it's not because i'm laughing out loud, it's my way of saying "AND THAT WAS REALLY NOT FUNNY BUT I'M SMILING REALLY PAINFULLY LOL!"
"LOL YOU KIDS TODAY ARE RUINING THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE GET OFF YOUR PHONES!"
yeah, i'm calling you out on your bullshit.
i write how i want to write on the internet. i am smart enough to understand not to put text abbreviations in my research papers, and so are you.
so write you how wanna write and speak how you wanna speak, unless you're writing an academic paper, then you should probably write academically.
i'll leave you with moby dick in emojis.
this book exists, by the way. the entire thing. in emojis.