Why we should present ourselves properly over the internet/social media

The internet is a strange place. You would agree with that statement, but likely without knowing the angle of my approach. Observe, if you will, the oddities of human behavior.
Have you ever noticed the apparent invisibility that being in a car grants people? They will do anything, scratch, adjust, pick their nose, yell at strangers, but without that little metal (or plastic) shield they would exhibit none of these behaviors. (We hope.) The internet offers a certain anonymity that people find appealing. They can speak their minds, post unafraid of humiliation. They can type a message lazily, giving no consideration to grammar, proper speech patterns, or using actual words for that matter. In some writing forum or another, I frequently witness the same argument.

Gentleman A asks a question or offers advice, but he does so with some atrocious bit of English that frankly pains the eye as much as the brain.
Gentleman B retorts, attacking Gentleman A’s credibility by pointing out every error in the original post.
Gentleman A defends his stance, stating that this is no formal forum and he need not concern himself with writing properly to ask/advise/etc in this capacity. Save grammar for the books we write, not the chit-chat.
Gentleman B denies the validity of the idea, repeating his own complaint.
This never ends well. I will agree with Gentleman B here personally, but I have professional reasons for doing so:
When something is sent into the internet, assume it is never going to be forgotten, erased, or removed. Why risk the potential headache later, when as an International Best Seller and big-shot now, some teenager digs up a Twitter post from 10 years ago and you’re now publicly mocked for not displaying knowledge of the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’? Perhaps you’re not yet published, you’re talking to agents and publishers, just trying to get out there. Agents do their homework. They will find every poorly written post and every melodramatic rant. If you want to be a professional, act like one. The internet has a pretty good memory, keep your cyber footprint clean. Just spend an extra few seconds to write properly (not necessarily formally), all the time. It just might make you a better writer.


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