Social media, especially Twitter and Facebook, generally give us a wider platform than we've ever had on which to write, opine, and interact. But as far as grammar, spelling, punctuation and usage go, they're still pretty anarchic. Major news organizations -- the kind that have style books named after them like Associated Press or The New York Times -- tend to write in their own styles. The rest of us tend to choose one of those preexisting style guides to follow, but they're often somewhat inadequate, especially when it comes to the medium of online writing.
Today, Associated Press producer Eric Carvin weighed in on newfangled style questions that haven't made it into its official style guide in a Twitter conversation using the hashtag #APStyleChat. You may plan to defriend somebody when in fact you should be unfriending them. And if you're still writing "E-mail," well, you're behind the times. Of course, debate abounds about the new declarations, such as why we're instructed to capitalize Web and Internet, but write "website" as one lower-case word. Here are a few of our favorite exchanges from the conversation.
The question of what to call Google's new social networking service was also contentious.
There are a few more one-off tips about new media, electronics, and social media. We'll spare you the minimal debate about them.
A style tip: It's check in as a verb and check-in as a noun and adjective when using a social networking tool. #APStyleChat