Messaging Secret #15: spell-check doesn’t know write from wrong

I remember discovering spell-check…a seemingly magical function of the fancy new typing program on the newfangled computer.  I thought to myself, “It’s like an English teacher in the computer!”  Turns out, it’s not.  Because while spell-check may indicate when you’ve typed the wrong spelling, it will not indicate when you’ve typed the wrong word.

Imagine you’re inviting people to read your online journal.  You type an email that reads, “Check out my clog!”  No misspellings there.  Send it!  Sadly, outside of the plumbing and wooden-shoe markets, your message will generate little more than confusion.

It’s not just missed keystrokes, though.  I recently read a high school newsletter that dedicated an entire page to the achievements of students in a marketing-club competition.  The kids apparently focused on preparing baked-goods, turning things over, and pushing things on wheels, as there were over 30 references to various forms of “roll play.”

It’s not just a student issue either.  I recently received an email in which a client agreed with me by typing, “Me to.”  And there was the client who confirmed their open mindedness by saying they were not “apposed to the suggestion.”  Neither of these would cause a spell-checker to react.  Both could, however, cause a reader to ask, “Is this really someone I want to work with?”

Remember, spell-check is a proofreading tool, not a proofreading replacement.  Whatever your business, there are no shortcuts to great messaging…only fast tracks to disastrous results.

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