All week, I’ve been looking for a few free minutes to write this entry. I read an article on LinkedIn that suggested that sloppy writing can work for you. I don’t want to dignify\glorify this guy by linking to the article, but the gist was that sloppy writing can be appropriate in certain situations.
The headline got my blood boiling- something like “Misspelled words and bad style can help you get ahead.” He based his premise on an email exchange between the CEO of Snapchat and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. Zuckerberg suggested they meet and the young man replied with a very casual email to the effect of ‘Next time I’m in your area, we’ll see if I have the time.’ He also had a smiley face emoticon.
I know I’m a little conservative on this stuff, but strategic sloppiness (his term) is inappropriate. Period, end of argument.
In the case he cited, the CEO certainly wants to show that he’s not intimidated by Zuckerberg. And, since he knows that Zuckerberg has an informal style of communicating, he felt justified in using an emoticon, a half-sentence and not giving anything specific.
The writer suggests that this opening to a relationship with Zuckerberg may have been a part of Facebook’s $3 billion bid for Snapchat, a bid that Snapchat declined. I suggest that this opening to a relationship may have been why Facebook offered only $3 billion.
Most likely neither of us is right!
What the heck is wrong with:
Thanks for your email. I won’t be in the Bay Area for a while, but the next time I am, let’s get together.
It still sends the message that I’m not going to move Heaven and Earth to meet you. It still sends the message that I’m busy.
I’ll finish by stealing an idea from one of the commenters: this fellow has confused casual with sloppy. Casual style is very useful in many contexts. We might need to show that we’re a regular person. We might need to show that we’re on the same level (or should be) with the reader. We might be writing to someone we know well about a topic that doesn’t require formality.
However, casual emails still have proper spelling, grammar and punctuation.