Call me a nerd if you feel like it, but English is important to me. I care about things like vocabulary, diction, and enunciation. Written English, in particular, has a special place in my heart and in my life.
With the advent of smart phones, blogs, and social media – it seems more and more people choose to care less and less about the ways in which they are conducting themselves and communicating their many, many messages.
I have no principle issue with things such as accent or vernacular. Those things have their place. But when people start saying “LOL” instead of actually laughing – yeah, we got a problem.
There are some of those poor unfortunate souls who would love to be writing and speaking better. They can't sometimes because peer pressure – that incessant call to conformity – blocks their path. They are forced to keep up with the proverbial Jones family, shift down their linguistic gears, and make themselves sound a lot simpler than they are. This is sad state we are in, when those who speak correctly and clearly are being made to feel foolish.
This isn't about lingo or slang, either. I can fully appreciate words and ideas that come from the street or from the military. However, talking to one another as if we are in a chat room is unacceptable.
Nobody wants to be the nerd who constantly corrects everyone, and that is NOT what I am advocating here. Don't be that guy. If you do have a few pet peeve words or phrases that make you want to put someone's head through a wall – by all means, correct your friends and be consistent. If have the desire to be a bit of a “grammar Nazi”, and correct your friends on things here and there, I salute you.
What you should NOT do is play the game. Don't take your language skills down a notch. If you want to speak and write correctly, do it. Don't correct your friends about every little spelling or syntax error – just keep doing your own thing.
English is important. It's been through many changes, and it is always evolving. A lot of things I can accept, but you must draw the line somewhere. Part of the breadth of language is in its abundance of possibilities for self-expression. We don't want to end up with nineteen eighty-four's “newspeak”, do we?
People want to fit in. That's part of what drives us. We have a need to be social, and to be part of a group. Don't let peer pressure dictate how you live. This is true to language as it is true to many other areas of life, from the everyday and mundane to the unique and strange. The bottom line is: do your own thing.