Briana’s Writing Tips: Cut Back On Slang And Internet Shorthand

Twitter, texting and the internet in general have made people a lot more, for lack of a better term, lazy in their writing. With character limits and the need for speed, people have gotten into the habit of shortening everything. However, being popular doesn’t make it right.

I highly recommend that people cut back on slang and internet shorthand as much as possible. It’s okay to use some as part of your personal style, but if you want to be a good writer, limiting your use of these things will be very beneficial. It may feel awkward at first, but you’ll be glad for it in the long run.

One of the biggest reasons for limiting internet abbreviations and slang is understandability. Not all people from all parts of the world are going to understand what you’re saying. I may know what jury-rigging (Or Jerry-rigging if you’re from the northeast) something means, but someone else won’t. Not everyone knows what IMO or BBIAB means. If you write things out fully, there’s a much better chance that everyone will know what you’re talking about.

It’s funny in a way, but my younger brother and I are a good example of this. He loves his shorthand, and I’ve actually had to go look up smh (shaking my head) brah (a friendly way of referring to a guy who’s like a brother) and other terms. It’s natural for him, but would be bad for a writer. It throws off the flow if a reader has to go look things up all the time, and that’s if they care enough to know. They might just skip over the slang and shorthand and miss the meaning or feeling of what you’re writing.

I know some people may worry about sounding “too smart” or “elitist” if they write words correctly, but they shouldn’t. If people judge you badly for using your brain, that’s a problem with them, not you. If you sound smarter than your friends or fellow writers, that’s not a bad thing. Intelligence and accuracy aren’t something to be ashamed of.

All that said, if you feel that using some local slang or shorthand is needed in your piece, it can be a good idea to define the terms at the end of the piece for those who might not understand. Depending on what you’re writing this may be needed, or you can just wait and talk about it in the comments if someone asks.


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