Occasionally, posts wander across my Facebook feed showing various texts gone “bad”, purportedly due to the autocorrect features on people’s’ phones. (Note: apparently these are only popular if they are crude or titillating, as opposed to, say, just funny).
I have to wonder about those incidents. For a couple of reasons.
The first, why do you need spell checker/autocorrect for texting? Based on what I see, especially in the modern text lexicon, there are few times when a “difficult” word is needed, so why don’t people simply spell the words themselves?
I don’t text frequently, but I do reply to texts and emails through my phone. I found it useful to turn off the autocorrect feature in my iPhone. No muss, no fuss. With the immediacy that comes with texting and emailing, it’s far safer to put up with your own errors than having something totally out of context substituted.
Now, when I’m writing at home, either blogs or a manuscript, I use the spelling and grammar checker because I have ample time to consider the computer’s suggestions before hitting “save” (or “send”).
One theory I came up with regarding why so many people use autocorrect is that spelling has now become like phone numbers. Once the phones began remembering phone numbers for us, most of us started having trouble remembering the numbers ourselves.
Perhaps spell checkers have now become like phone memories, where people don’t bother to “know” the spelling of words because they depend on their phones to do it for them. Of course, then you just might end up on a Facebook post.
The other reason I find those posts somewhat suspect is the types of words that are supposedly suggested/replaced by the phone. I can’t say I’ve ever seen any words like that in any of my word-suggesting programs (and I’ve written millions of words).
I suppose it’s possible that those words are used frequently by those texters and the phone added them to its memory. In that case, I consider the embarrassment self-inflicted.
Of course, one final possibility is that spelling, like math, is becoming a lost art. I’d hate to think what that spells for the future.