Word Crimes and Blogging

I read a fair few blogs. Some I’ve stumbled across, some are by friends and family, and some are just random posts and not blogs that I read on a regular basis. I’ve started to notice a startling trend: some people who blog can’t write.

I’m not saying that the ideas aren’t there. They just don’t have the technical skills to make what they’re writing about readable, at least not for me. There are a few things that I need to have, or need to not have, in a post to make it an enjoyable read:

  • Proper punctuation
    • Really, periods and commas are not that hard to use. If you’re finished with a though, use a period. If you need to put a pause or break in a thought, you will most often use a comma. I’m not going to go into the more difficult stuff, and I’m using the term difficult very loosely.
  • Proper spelling
    • If you’re not sure how to spell something, it’s not hard to find an online dictionary to look it up, and that’s assuming the word processor/blog editor/website doesn’t point out misspellings with a fat red line. Granted, sometimes the red lines are wrong. WordPress doesn’t recognize Canadian spelling for things like favourite, but if a word is underlined, it’s worth taking a look.
  • A lack of run-on sentences
    • This ties back to my first point. If you know how to use periods and commas, odds are high that you’re not going to have many run–ons peppering your writing. If however you don’t feel the need to break up your thoughts when you’re writing then it stands to reason that you’re going to end up writing an awful lot of run-on sentences that make things really hard for potential readers to get through your posts or make sense of what you’re trying to say without mentally inserting their own punctuation. (See what I did there? Example!)
  • Paragraphs
    • I find it really hard to read when people forget to use paragraphs. If your blog posts look like one huge chuck of text, you need to take a trip back to basic English and learn when and how to use paragraphs. It’s great for thought organization.
  • No text slang
    • Seriously. You have a full keyboard. Use real, complete words.

I’m by no means saying that I’m perfect, especially when I’m writing a post on the iPad (damn you autocorrect!) I do, however, think that I have the required skills to bang out a post that’s not so awful it makes other lovers of the English language want to assassinate me, or, at the very least, attack me with a red editing pen. In an age where there are so many online resources available to bloggers, especially those built right into blog editors, I find this kind of stuff inexcusable.

But don’t take my word for it.