If you have a social media account or simply like to babble on various news sites or both, you probably make your fair share of comments. The comment section is a place where you can express yourself anonymously. You can use a pseudonym, make your comments about anything you wish, and return to your professional writing career with no one the wiser. It’s a distraction, and a detriment if you’re not careful.
Whether you are a daily commenter (most of us have our favorites), or you write comments occasionally, you probably cut-corners. What I mean by “cutting-corners” is that you presumably use colloquial language, more often than not, when writing comments online. Grammar simply goes out the window. It's easier and faster to write "TBH" instead of "To Be Honest" or "IONO" instead of "I Don’t Know," or "IJK" instead of "I'm Just Kidding." These abbreviated words a.k.a (also known as) acronyms are a necessary evil when commenting. For some reason, there’s something sinister about the whole thing. I mean, here we are conversing with strangers from around the world adding our two, three, or four cents incognito. There’s work to be done. Time is of the essence. Your comments on various topics must be quick. There’s no time to figure out where to properly place periods, commas, conjunctives, and all that good stuff. Besides, who cares. You simply want to give your opinion and get back to business.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not completely against cutting-corners when commenting online. There are some benefits. It's similar to a new style of clothing. Not everyone can wear the latest fashion trends; however, we can probably mix the newest trends with our standard wardrobe to spice it up a bit. That’s basically what we do with acronyms. We take traditional words and sentences and integrate them with Internet slang terms.
Can You Get Away With It?
AAMOF (As A Matter Of Fact) as a writer, most of your clients undoubtedly prefer a certain style of writing. Though they may allow you free reign, if you are writing about stiletto heels it’s probably not wise to use the expression "THOTTIES or THOT (That Ho Over There) or use the abbreviated term for awesome (AWSM). Ok, my examples may be a bit OTT (Over The Top) but YGTI (You Get The Idea). You can get away with using Internet slang; however, carrying the lingo over to your writing career takes some serious skills.
Can Excessive Commenting Online Undermine Your Writing Ability?
Probably. Even so, the operative word here is “excessive.” For example, have you ever worked on an assignment and decided to take a brief Internet break? You browse a bit, go to one of your favorite sites, do a bit of reading, and promptly start writing your opinion on the news of the day. After a while, you find yourself distracted and browsing endlessly in cyberspace until, well, you have to get your mind back into your work. Your writing flow has been interrupted. But somehow, you have to get back to a deliberate mindset. Ooh, it’s tricky. Have you ever made a comment on a topic you are passionate about, someone replies antagonistically, and you go back and forth…unashamedly for hours? You have to get through it somehow and it has to be quick. This is when acronyms come in handy.
If you lack the discipline to start anew, your writing will suffer. Because (B/C):
1. Your thoughts have gone off track. And as you know, writing takes a lot of concentration. Then again, you probably have to check your sanity from time to time as writing is primarily a solitary profession. Commenting online can give you a sense of belonging. Ah, poor thing.
2. Cutting-corners and getting things over with quickly, as you might do when writing remarks on various sites, will affect your work. Why? Because sub-consciously you feel that you’ve found an easier, faster, and better way to write. You might think everybody’s doing it, so why not? Who cares about proper grammar anyway? Heck, cursive writing is hardly taught in the schools anymore! Still, when it comes to comprehension tried-and-true methods work best…IMHO (In My Humble Opinion). There are instances when Internet slang can enhance your work, but rarely.
3. Whether you realize it or not, your emotions are involved with your work. It doesn’t matter if you are writing about construction equipment or singing pandas. If you interrupt your work to browse a bit, you could easily find yourself enthralled by some imagery or intriguing article. This could affect your writing assignment. Your words could become less coherent and effective because you are distracted. Read the interesting article here by a writer who addresses the effect that commenting on social media has had on her life.
4. If you are severely distracted, well, you’re in trouble. It could be hours before you get back to work. Perhaps you have a deadline. What then? You will probably feel rushed and your work will suffer in the process. Are you going to ask your client for an extension. Once will probably be OK, but twice? It’s not your client’s fault that you can’t control your online rambling. Be careful.
Unless you have been B& (Banned) due to trolling, hey, we’ve all been there, you will have to be extra cautious when making your online rounds. If you are a full-time writer, your livelihood probably depends upon your income from your work. It’s best to set time aside only for writing and a special time for your leisure online activities. If you are really desperate, there are numerous addons out there, like LeechBlock for Firefox or StayFocused for Chrome, that will help you block yourself. Hey, I didn’t want to go there but DTCDM (Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures). Yeah, I just made up my own Internet slang term. In any case, I understand. I’ve been there. And yes, I’ve learned! GL (Good Luck)