Why Your Facebook Friends Can’t Spell And How It Relates To Your Money

by Shawanda Greene

While browsing through my Facebook news feed, I came across this little gem of ignorance authored by one of my younger friends.

Facebook friend: I Got Ah Notha Question ;; Y Is It Wen Yhu Dnt Wear Yo Seat Belt In Ah Car Yhu Get Pulled Over And Get Ah Ticket , But Wen Yhu On Somethinq Public Like Dha Bus Yhu Dnt Have Tew Wear Yo Seat Belt ??

Facebook friend’s friend: Bcusz wen they c yo face they get scared……………thatsz yy they dnt pull da buss uva

Although my Facebook friend deems it appropriate to write a sentence in title case – for no apparent reason – I’m just glad it wasn’t in all caps.

With that said, I have a problem with the way youngsters write these days – particularly their willingness to spell like idiots. I understand they’re trying to write how they’d sound if they were speaking. Us ol’ folks like to call it conversational style writing. But here’s what I don’t get. I don’t get how “somethinq” is better than “something.” Or how “yhu” is superior to “you” when “when” is inferior to “wen?”

What am I missing?

Perhaps I’m just getting old. Maybe I’m not fully grasping the generational and cultural phenomena that’s taking place here. It’s quite possible chronic mis-spellers are giving the finger to conformists who seek to master the formal, written English language.

Actually, I have other theories. I think these folks are deliberately misspelling words to cover up the fact that they don’t spell very well. The misspellings are just a manifestation of their intellectual insecurities. They believe others will ridicule them for any failed attempts at correctness. They want you to conclude that it’s not a mistake. There’s no way they could be that stupid.

I wonder if us adults do the same thing when it comes to our money. Are we so afraid our honest efforts won’t result in financial independence that we sabotage ourselves? Sometimes I believe we simply stop trying to behave responsibly, silently embrace defeat, and disguise our self doubt as self assuredness. If we can’t achieve perfection, then why should we even bother? We reason that you can’t fail if you don’t try. And so we end up exactly as we intended: broke, busted, and disgusted.

Have we accepted the notion that intentional failure = success?

Let me know what your thoughts are in the comment section below.


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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

frugalforties March 15, 2011 at 12:14 PM

Your theory may well be right, but I have to say it drives me CRAZY. I do use some conversational language when I write, especially on places like Facebook and Twitter … I tend to drop g's and use words like "gonna" and "doncha". The whole trend of totally making things unreadable annoys me though. I used to follow a message board where there was a woman who ended every 3rd word with "-sies" … after a while it started to sound like reading Jar-Jar Binks. I finally blocked her posts because they annoyed me so.

Or maybe I'm just becoming a grumpy old lady. (And you kids get offa my lawn, too!!!)


TheyCallMeCheap March 15, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Haha! I was feeling a little "get off my lawn" and "pull ya pants up" too when I wrote this post.

I drop g's and use words like "wanna" and "gonna" as well. I feel those words are acceptable to the masses. Native English speakers don't have to pause in order to interpret those words into something understandable.


Amanda March 15, 2011 at 6:44 PM

I don't think 30 is that old, but when I see things like that, I feel like a grandma.

I can understand when it's done in text (who doesn't hate numb thumbs?), but I don't understand the ones like "yhu" where the letters they are typing out are just as long as the word they replaced.


TheyCallMeCheap March 15, 2011 at 7:46 PM

Yeah. Why not use "u" instead of "yhu"?

I've gotten so lazy when it comes to texting that I just let my phone figure out what I meant to type. As long as there's auto correct, tapping anywhere in the vicinity of the letter I'm trying to hit is okay by me.


Afford-Anything.com March 16, 2011 at 12:46 AM

I read somewhere that perfectionists tend to procrastinate, because if they never start a project, they can never fail at it. That theory seems consistent with what you're proposing … that people avoid pursuing success due to fear of failure. Sounds reasonable!


Shawanda March 17, 2011 at 1:38 AM

Hmm. I guess if you never fail, then by default, you're perfect. Very interesting.


Anree March 19, 2011 at 6:37 PM

I love this post. The Facebook rant was good enough to stand on its own, but the lightbulb really went off for me when you tied it back into personal finance. It's so true. It hurts a hell of lot more when you give your best and still fail. We sometimes protect ourselves from accepting that reality by feigning indifference and falling back on "I wasn't really trying".


Shawanda March 20, 2011 at 10:43 AM

"There is no failure. Only feedback." ~ Robert Allen

The thing about failure is that successful people experience it the most. Isn't that something?


Romeo March 26, 2011 at 11:10 AM

So my eight-year-old son tried this mess when typing to his "friends" over the Playstation network. Daddy quickly squashed it.

My fourteen-year-old sister also tried this mess but when typing on Facebook. My momma ( or mother for the grammatical conformist) quickly squashed it.

The problem is that this social phenomenon, as you call it, will quickly become habit if no one steps in to lobby why it is wrong. As adults, we have a responsibility to teach children how such a thing will affect their future when we see this mess happening.

This is easily tied to personal finance. Like these children, if adults perpetually spend beyond their means and have no one to teach or force them to "do the right thing," they too create a habit that is hard to break; one that is perhaps even more detrimental.

Thanks for the early morning and thought provoking read, Shawanda.


FabulouslyBroke.com July 20, 2011 at 7:05 AM

I understand writing "gonna" "ain't" and other words like that, but when it's a word like "When" or "Wen", just ADD THE DAMN H.

I also hate it when people use "u" instead of typing "you" if they have space, and "h8" for "hate"

ARG :)


shopping2saving April 24, 2012 at 5:44 PM

I'm the same exact way! I cringe when people make grammar mistakes or when they spell things wrong. It just gets under my skin. I also hate when people do the your vs you're thing or the to vs. too vs. two. I mean seriously, that's like 1st grade curriculum guys! Learn how to spellllllll!!!


Jonathan Jones September 3, 2012 at 11:03 AM

I freaking hate it when people type like that, I understanding people doing that with text messages due to character limitations, but on Facebook? It seems they have carried their text abilities over to Facebook and the internet as a whole. I think texts are to blame for the most part. It has made people lazy. Luckily, I never had a phone when I was younger, though that’s probably why I care a lot more when typing.
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