In an era of ever-proliferating memes and text-based abbreviations, some may question the need for meticulous proofreading, but for businesses, and particularly for lawyers, good grammar is an essential part of crafting a professional appearance online.
You would never dream of filing a motion with the court or sending a letter to a client using the kind of grammar found on the Cheezeburger websites, but these linguistic liberties often pop up on professionals’ Facebook pages or Twitter accounts. It is important that you remain ever vigilant. As Brad Hoover, of the Harvard Business Review, recently reminded his readers,
good grammar is instrumental in conveying ideas with clarity, professionalism, and precision.
As compelling as it may be to substitute “u” for “you” or “prez” for “president” when trying to squeeze into Twitter’s 140 character limit, doing so does far more harm than good to your online image. Internet customers are looking to see if you are professional and have a good reputation. Using these kinds of shortcuts will make you seem uneducated, hasty, and sloppy. They can negate all of your professional credentials and careful branding choices.
Rather than relying on text-speak, work on tightening your language. Don’t use 5 words when 2 will do. Avoid phrases like “the idea of” or “it has been said,” which add weight without substance. Remove unnecessary, superfluous, and redundant adjectives (like these).
With practice, you will find it much easier to slip in under the character count without compromising your professional integrity. You may even find that your legal writing improves too.