One of my favorite bloggers is Lynn Gaertner-Johnston with her Business Writing blog. A recent entry caught my eye. I am often caught between the desire to allow myself, and my language, to change with the times, and an often stronger desire to enforce the “rules of writing.”
Lynn write about finding a newspaper from 1949, and realizing that writing has changed, and she encourages us to change as well:
The same is true of business writing. The language we use and the way we format documents are different. Yet I often get worried email complaining that writers no longer use the language, style, structure, and punctuation people learned in school.
Here is my answer: Get over it! This is not 1949–it’s nearly 2008. Embrace the differences. Accept “Hey” as an email greeting without cringing. Learn to like avatars in place of photos on web sites. (I’m working on this one.) Stop saying “The way I was taught in school . . .” Enjoy the new year.
I cannot say I wholeheartedly agree with her, but I certainly agree in large measure! I think we walk a fine line between writing with standards that communicates effectively, and allowing our colleagues and our friends to find ways to express themselves.
Let’s all learn to at least “get along” and ensure we communicate–effectively!