Like a lot of people, I was floored by the discovery of this new country called Amercia. Well, maybe not so much the “discovery” as the fact that such an obvious typo made it all the way to the app stage with no one noticing. But maybe I shouldn’t be. After all, typos have become a staple of print and online content in recent years.
CNN just posted a great guest blog by journalism professor Merrill Perlman about the death of the copy editor and the toll it’s taken on all our written content, online and off. “Amercia” is just the latest example, but it won’t be the last… unless people like you start paying more attention to what you post online.
Your typos probably won’t go as viral as “Amercia” did, but if you write blogs, web pages, or social media posts that are riddled with errors, enough people will see them to remember you as either careless or not smart. Keep this from happening by correcting your errors before posting. It’ll take a little longer to write, but it’s better to lose a little time than lose a lot of face.
First, know how to spell. I read lots of website content, and at least half of the mistakes I see come from confusing one word with another that sounds alike but means something different. These are the most common: ·
Next, run a spell check. Granted, they plod through every proper name in your writing, but they still catch a lot of mistakes before you get to the next stage.
That next step is to give it a read-through, but take a break first. After hours of staring at a computer screen, even the most careful writer can miss obvious errors that spell-checks don’t catch. Step away for a while, then come back and correct all those spelling and punctuation errors you might have missed earlier.
Finally, if possible, get a second set of eyes to double-check your work. Copy editors were great because they caught things that exhausted, bleary-eyed writers might have missed. You might not have the money to hire an editor, but you can still ask a friend or colleague to help you out and catch the errors you overlooked.
Typos and spelling errors may be more frequent than before, but that’s no excuse for you to make them. Take a little time to check your writing and be sure that you aren’t writing the next Great “Amercian” Mistake.