According to new research, Twitter users make twice as many spelling mistakes as Facebook users.
The study by Brandwatch analysed 10,000 tweets from 1,000 randomly selected Twitter accounts.
It found one in every 150 words posted on Twitter is spelt incorrectly, in contrast to one in 323 words on Facebook.
The figure doesn’t just refer to spelling mistakes. It includes the use of abbreviations (such as LOL), grammatical errors, word elongation and shortening.
Women are more likely to make errors and use abbreviations than men, averaging one in every 169 words, as opposed to one in 192 words.
I use Twitter quite a lot and I must admit to taking some grammatical shortcuts.
With just 140 characters to play with per Tweet, it’s really frustrating to get to the end of a sentence and be just one character short.
Rather than rewriting the tweet, I will go back and substitute the likes of “I’m” for “Im”.
I think there’s a difference between the odd grammatical tweak and glaring spelling errors. Twitter is a public forum and consistently poor spelling and grammar look like you don’t care.
In Twitter arguments, spelling mistakes are one of the first things people criticise. Making a spelling mistake on Twitter looks like you aren’t in control – especially as mobile phone spell checks are getting better.
Out of all the social networks, I think we should be forgiving of mistakes on Twitter"
Twitter is about spontaneous reactions to events and if you are in a hurry it’s easy to make mistakes, particularly if you’re typing using a small keyboard.
For the majority of people, it doesn’t really matter if there’s a mistake – for professions like politics or teaching, it’s a different story.
Interestingly Brandwatch’s study found that on Twitter women tend to elongate words, while men shorten them.
Common words used by women include: soo, aww and ohh. Men use lota, lol, lonna and wanna.
I’m guilty of the odd aww and soo. But I would use those terms on Facebook and emails to friends.
Writing a letter or sending a Facebook message can be unwittingly formal. People can read sentences in different ways and misconstrue the original meaning. By using such language I’m hoping my message sounds a little more conversational and a little how I’d say it in person.
According to the survey the most common grammatical errors are related to misuse of the apostrophe: im, wont, cant, dont, id.
There’s a movement online called Kill The Apostrophe “on the basis that it serves only to annoy those who know how it is supposed to be used and to confuse those who dont.”
I’m not in favour of removing the apostrophe. Twitter and text speech is only a small facet of the way we use our language, enough people still write emails or letters using the apostrophe for it to be useful.
In the future Twitter and other social networks are likely to increasingly shape our language and we have to get used to it. Language has evolved centuries and will continue to do so.
It’s not all bad news: it has also been revealed that Twitter users have been getting more literate each year since 2011.
Overall, I suggest tolerance towards language quirk on Twitter and yes to abbreviation and elongation - in moderation.
I advise anyone who cares to take a few seconds to correct typos before hitting send.