Welcome to Second Ferment! Wine pairs well with life ... and food, travel, people, work and play. Grab a glass and join me as I explore the wine scene in Ottawa, Canada, and beyond. Love hearing from my readers, so please leave a comment. Cheers! - Bethany

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tweeting with my mouth full

Does social media excuse poor manners? Or poor grammar, for that matter?

At a recent foodie event, I had my plate and glass precariously balanced in one hand while I tweeted rapid-fire with the other. I went through the first half-dozen tables that way, completely zoned out, before I remembered the dear friend I had invited to join me that evening. I turned to her and apologized. "I'm so sorry," I said with a sheepish grin. "I'm hardly good company with my nose buried in my Crackberry, am I? It's just that I'm working on stuff for my blog ..."

She waved her hand in the air between us and laughed it off. "Oh, no worries. I've got plenty of hot guys to check out." (It's true - there were a LOT of hot guys that night. Not that I was looking.)

Still, I was troubled by my own behaviour, and wondered at what point had my manners been flushed down the toilet so deep that my conversations had become more virtual than real? I do my best to keep the smartphone usage to a minimum when in mixed company. And I try to set an example for the kids: the rule at our house is no iphone/bb/laptop at the table during a meal. (Sadly, that rule is being broken all too often.)

But when I'm covering a wine or food event, I am torn between wanting to jot down as many details as I can, and not wanting to snub the guests whose company has been generously offered to me.

Please don't take me for a snob or rake me across the coals for being obnoxious - I'm taking notes so that I can share my experience with all you fine folks later on.

As for grammar and spelling, my sentence structure is taking a hit, and my wds R getting shorter & shrtr. So much to say, so little space. I'm an editor by trade, but tell clients not to fuss over the full spelling of words or use of punctuation in Twitter when you've only got space for 140 characters (who came up with that number, anyway?) Afterwards, I shake my head and think, 'did I really just say that?'

It all comes down to time and place, I guess. When sharing tidbits in itty-bitty squares online, abysmal spelling or crimes against hyphenation will be excused. But in emails, letters, and full-length texts, there's no excuse. It's positively cringe-worthy to hear from my teacher friends who receive essays written in "txt", or resumes full of short forms, acronyms and LOLs.

Ya won't be laughing so much when you're unemployed, buddy. And I better keep my Crackberry in check before the only friends I have left are the ones playing FarmVille on Facebook.

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