Does spelling matter if it’s social?

I’ve just logged into my LinkedIn account and a poll came up titled ‘Does your company have and follow an editorial process for social media to avoid typos and grammatical errors in postings?’

At the time of writing this, the results were 64% No and 35% Yes (whatever happened to the other 1% I’m not entirely sure!)

I find this statistic quite interesting. After all – in what other instance would copy be issued into the public domain without being proofed? I work in a fairly small B2B team and every press release and feature written is proofed by at least two members of staff.

The quality of written work is of the utmost importance in the PR industry. It’s the one thing we should be able to do with our eyes closed.

I would be mortified if I sent out a press release full of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.

But with social media it appears that it’s OK.

In fact, even if you did have an editorial process in place, as suggested in the LinkedIn poll, would you actually be able to follow it?

After all, if the apostrophe in ‘there’s’ or the space between a full stop and the start of a new sentance means you total 141 characters instead of 140, what would you do?

Delete the apostrophe of course! Surely it’s accepted with such a tight word limit?

(I’d like to see the papers use that excuse next time a sub editor is struggling with a headline).

It’s interesting to see if this will ever stray into more traditional PR and media, especially considering the high use of ‘text talk’ over the last few years.

However, I can’t see it happening any time soon. As an industry, I think we’re still too proud for that.

Is it really Time for news websites to start charging?

For some it’s been a long time coming but The Times has officially become the first national newspaper to charge for access to its website.

Users will pay £1 for a day’s access and £2 for a week’s subscription, starting in June – but is this a good or a bad move? Or is it simply the inevitable?

The BBC says that the move opens a new front in the battle for readership and will be watched closely by the industry.

And they’re right.

The move is risky, and many industry insiders think Murdoch is making a mistake. But the fact is that news is a commodity and newspapers and news outlets need to make money.

But that doesn’t mean it’s going to work.

If people are being charged to access the site they’ll simply go elsewhere. Only die-hard Times readers will pay the fee – most will simply move to another site. After all, political stance aside, the day-to-day news is pretty much the same in every publication.

One of the reasons actual newspapers sales is declining is because it’s free to access it online, so the reaction will be ‘why pay?’ when I can still get news free from a hundred other sources? 

However, that said, I do think that Murdoch has set a precedent and done something every other newspaper has been toying with for years.  I’m sure other online broadsheets will eventually follow his lead – like they did when he converted the Times to ‘compact’ size.

But it’s risky being the first one. 

What do you think?