Belinda Henwood, Sub-editor

Belinda Henwood, Sub-editor

It’s a given that personal social media accounts, blogs and emails are spattered if not awash with typos as well as spelling and grammatical mistakes. Some even claim the vastness and the fastness of digital communication have caused grammar’s demise.

While we might turn a blind eye to mistakes in personal communication, are errors an issue for corporate and professional accounts as well as brands?

An eye for detail is a must

For Kyle Wiens, CEO of the iFixit online community and founder of Dozuki software, it’s a no-brainer. In the Harvard Business Review he says, “Good grammar is credibility, especially on the internet. In blog posts, on Facebook statuses, in emails, and on company websites, your words are all you have. They are a projection of you in your physical absence. And, for better or worse, people judge you if you can’t tell the difference between their, there and they’re.”

Wiens takes his grammar standards one step further, testing all job applicants – including salespeople, operational staff and programmers. While grammar might seem irrelevant if you aren’t a writer, Wiens contends that it’s related to performance, creativity and intelligence.

“If it takes someone more than 20 years to notice how to properly use ‘it’s’, then it’s a learning curve I’m not comfortable with,” he says. “I’ve found that people who make fewer mistakes on a grammar test also make fewer mistakes when they are doing something completely unrelated to writing — like stocking shelves or labelling parts.

“And just like good writing and good grammar, when it comes to programming, the devil’s in the details. In fact, when it comes to my whole business, details are everything.”

Good grammar = credibility

Just like some readers will inevitably judge a publication by the quality of its grammar, some consumers will apply the same standards when considering a brand. As long as there aren’t too many errors too often, consumers will likely forgive and forget. Of course, you can always use a typo to your advantage – like Nissan, which got potential customers stopping and thinking about its ad and turning to social media for solutions.

As Jayson DeMers says in Forbes, “Granted, many consumers or current and potential customers will either forgive or not even notice an error, especially if it’s minor. However, errors – especially if they’re not clearly intentional like using a common abbreviation or acronym – can damage your company’s credibility in ways that may not be immediately obvious to you as a marketer.”

When words and images are the only tools you have to work with, why not make every part of your product as good as it possibly can be? That’s why King Content has dedicated sub-editors.

King Content CEO Craig Hodges says, “There is still something special about a well-crafted story that has been lost in today’s world of ‘close enough is good enough’.”

Do you think grammar is dead in the digital world? Share your thoughts below.

One Comment

  • El says:

    Great read. Kyle Wiens makes me feel better about judging friends on my Newsfeed for failing to know the difference between “it’s” and “its” or “to” and “too”. I don’t know that it’s dead amongst all, maybe less emphasis in the digital age. In the ’90s Victoria (or at least my school) removed grammar from the curriculum. Perhaps a sign of importance at the time? Weins would have had a fit!