Ask Ty...December 24 [The Fear of Failure Question]

It must be Tuesday Christmas, Middlespace Cadets, because I'm answering your questions
Q: Dear Ty,

My mom sent me an email today, then one right after informing me that she had caught that she had misspelled a word in the previous email, and that she hated when she did that and really wished there was a way to un-send a message. All this for a typo. I thought, only my mom would inform someone of the typos she made in another email, like she has to be perfect all the time. Then I realized, this is just fear of failure. She hates to be perceived as being stupid. But the thing is, no one cares about misspellings or typos anymore.

The written language has become like another spoken language. Just as you wouldn't compose what you were going to say in a conversation ahead of time, go over it in your head right before you said it, then reviewed it after it was spoken, you wouldn't right an email to a friend talking about something that happened that day and then re-read it, correct all the mistakes, add things in later.

No, this would be like talking and being fearful of saying a word wrong. People say words wrong all the time, no big deal, and that's part of spoken language, and now, part of our written language like it never was before. Writing has become de-formalized, you know, for the masses.

What was my question?

-Precious Prodigy Child
Ty: Good question and an even better observation, PPC. I often find myself sending immediate followup instant messages (IMs) to correct language or spelling, etc. For example:
From ty:>> Dude, that was lam as hell
From ty:>> +e = lame
See? I corrected the word "lame" not because I thought the recipient would really believe I thought something was "lam as hell" or didn't understand what I was intending, but I want my recipient to know something; to understand that I'm no slouch and that I give a shit. I want the recipient to know that I caught my mistake and was willing to accept responsibility. I see it as a courtesy, as an ethic. I believe it's a way to acknowledge that you're not some slouch-potato abbreviating everything to bare bones of comprehension of language and thought, as in:
From ty:>> dood tht wuz lah lulz
My intent is for recipients to know that I care about words and language and how I am perceived in even the most basic and informal of communication forms/forums. But I also recognize that I am obsessed with many things. How others perceive me is one of those things.

I care about typos and misspellings, PPC. I judge others almost as harshly as I judge myself, sometimes brutally. Many of my friends are relentless in their dissection of typos and misspellings too. And that's OK. It keeps me honest and aware and careful. We should strive to be on the very top of our game at all times. Period.

In fact, I am also the type of person--situationally--who plans and edits before speaking. Much of that has to do with being an historical minority carrying baggage of people on my heroic shoulders (i.e. BLACK MAN). Just today, I walked into an athletic shoe vendor in a mall and was greeted with, "Yo, wuzzup, buddy?!" To which I replied, "hello." Deliberate. So deliberate.

Now, I don't know your mom, PPC, but I see her action as one of caring and respect. Respect for the recipient of her note, and self-respect. She saying, "I'm no slouch, boy. I give a fuck." That honorable (and a little obsessive on the side). Good, because we should strive to be on the very top of our game at all times. Period.

Now, what is your question, PPC? I believe your question is this:
Are we a once overly formal culture that is slipping (or has slipped) into the abyss of mopetardness -OR- are we going to be fine with having a range of situational formalities? That is, is it acceptable for us to relax our language standards in IM, email, or with those we are most comfortable with?
I say, even in mobile telephone texts we should strive for complete sentences, correct punctuation, and well-conceived thoughts. Why? Because we cheat ourselves and the recipients of our thoughts otherwise. The lazy slips into the formal more quickly than the other way around. We have already accepted a mope segment of our culture and being "normal," why should we cede all standards? That's just ignorant.

Now, let me ask you this from your Ask Ty... question. Was this intentional (annotated)?
" wouldn't right an email to a friend talking about something that happened that day and then re-read it, correct all the mistakes, add things in later."
I could see it working as, "One wouldn't right an anecdotal emailing to a friend." OR "One wouldn't write an anecdotal emailing to a friend, then read it, edit, and follow with a better draft."

Remember, when you shine the spotlight on others, it often reflects back on you. Not being jerky, just looking at the whole (or hole).

Just a guess,