We Need More Stories – and it means less grammar policing.

I have an extreme distaste for correcting spelling and grammar on social media.

When we police grammar on Social Media, we limit the stories that can be shared and cast judgement on people, including already marginilized groups. Suddenly, people begin to be fearful of story telling because they don’t know how to use a comma or spell a word properly. 

Would you want to tell your story, if you know a well-meaning friend always points out that you have no idea how to use “they-their-there”? No. You wouldn’t.

Isn’t that scary?

That scares me.

It scares me that people are too scared to tell their story because of “helpful” grammar police hidden behind keyboards.

We need more stories. We need to read more experiences of what’s really going on besides mine – a white girl with a college education and the time to check spell check. The story telling that happens on social media is what makes social media a community that I love so much. It is where connection happens and how we begin to feel connected.

I have asked many of my friends to write for my local mom blog – Northern BC Moms – but they are too worried that they can’t write. They can write. You can write. We can all write. I want your story because I know somewhere out there is a mom thinking – why am I the only one experiencing this.

Just start – fingers to keyboard – start typing it out.

Your story is more important than spelling and grammar. Our brains work in magnificent ways – we understand the story regardless of the grammar mistakes and spelling errors. We know which they-their-there you meant to understand the sentence.

There’s a time and place for correcting spelling and grammar. But keep it to yourself 80% of the time. Especially when you’re on social media.

On Instagram, on Facebook, whatever your platform of choice is. When a person is telling their story, focus on what matters – their story, and how we can do better as a community.

Don’t show up in their DM’s telling them they spelt a word wrong. You don’t know if that’ll trigger them into recluse and never write again.

The same goes for the Facebook group that attacked the young man looking for a job and spelt a word wrong. Come on. Why do we have shame him for being less than, when he’s already struggling?

And we wonder why people don’t ask for help?

Give people grace to tell their story on social media without being corrected. If grammar is important to you, find another way to channel that energy.

This commentary is inspired by – Stop with the Grammar Policing on Social Media by Kristen Mae, originally published on Scary Mommy.

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