We live in interesting and unique times. For the first time in the whole history of mankind, anyone (virtually) can share their thoughts on any subject, and the whole world (virtually) can read it. Yes, I know there are some countries where blogs, Facebook, tweets etc are restricted or banned, but mostly they are not. All you need is a bit of cheap technology and access to the Web.
Well, no. I think not. Let me explain, and if you want to call me a hypocrite, please do.
In one way, everyone on this planet is equal. We are alive, we are human, we have needs. If I post a blog about open heart surgery, it carries the exact same weight as a blog from President Trump about open heart surgery, or by my Aunt Mary. Specifically, none.
My knowledge of such surgery is pretty much nil. I am guessing Mr Trump’s knowledge is the same, and my Aunt Mary’s is definitely nothing.
Mt Trump has an advantage though. He is, or can be surrounded by experts on heart surgery.
There are things I know a good deal about – teaching, computers, Mathematics, photography and so on. You could say I am an expert in those fields. If I say something about, say, how to interest girls in ICT, you might listen to me because you know I had 40 years doing just that. If Mr Trump listens to his experts on a topic, then makes decisions, informed decisions, on something and perhaps tweets about it, then, if we now he has distilled the advice from his helpers, we may take notice.
The problem is that anyone can give their opinions. All you need is a bit of cheap technology and access to the Web. You don’t even have to be able to spell.
Is spelling important? Well, yes it is. If the topic is important, then writing about it in reasonably intelligible English shows that the author is treating it as important. Correct spelling gives you an extra air of confidence about the whole business. I do appreciate that there are trivial topics (like the music of Lil Wayne) where perfect grammar and spelling are not important. but if you read a declaration of war between the USA and North Korea that was full of errors, you would be inclined to wonder if it was fake (assuming you noticed them, of course).
I used to work at a school where e-mail was the preferred method of communication. All the deputy heads seemed to be dyslexic, and the head teacher simply did not care and would send of messages that were often so hard to understand that you gave up.
What makes it hard on the Web is that the good posts, blogs, tweets whatever are often lost in all the noise.
Mr Trump knows this, of course. He knows that if something is getting a bit sticky for him, he can change the topic, send out a number of tweets and we are all distracted and forget the rest. Trump’s tweets have grammatical and spelling errors in. People retweet them, sometimes because they think they agree with what he says, often because they are hilarious and meaningless. Mr Trump or his helpers can then say, look, everyone is talking about so-and-so (eg Mr Trump is the greatest president who has ever lived).
Which, I am fairly sure, he is not.