Esther Lederberg: A Forgotten Woman in STEM

A lot of women have been overlooked when it comes to their contributions to STEM, their achievements, and some of their achievements have been attributed to men that were their colleagues and partners. Isn’t that just horrible? It would really suck to know that something that I, as a woman, if I were a woman, accomplished and it was discredited to me and credited to someone else or even stolen from me intellectually. I could not even imagine that, but it is a widely recognized problem in history for women in STEM (and in general). Even the White House recognizes the issue in an official site entitled, “The Untold History of Women in Science and Technology.” It is so disheartening that history has disregarded women and their accomplishments. In this blog, I am going to tell the story of one of the many other women in STEM that were not credited and forgotten in history: Esther Lederberg.

According to multiple sources, Esther Lederberg is known as a “pioneer of bacterial genetics.” She achieved this during her work as an unpaid research assistant to her husband at the University of Wisconsin, according to a source. According to that same source, “She discovered the lambda phage, a bacterial virus which is widely used as a tool to study gene regulation and genetic recombination. She also invented the replica plating technique, which is used to isolate and analyse [sic] bacterial mutants and track antibiotic resistance.” Many sources credit this to her solely, but other sources, including Stanford, seem to give most of the credit to her husband.

Joshua and Esther Lederberg at the University of Wisconsin in 1958.
Joshua and Esther Lederberg at the University of Wisconsin in 1958. Source: The New York Times and Associated Press

According to her memorial page from Stanford, where she was professor emeritus of microbiology and immunology, “Lederberg is perhaps best known for her collaboration with her first husband, Joshua Lederberg, PhD, who in 1958 won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for discoveries on how bacteria mate. But her work was extremely noteworthy in its own right, and she was a trailblazer for women scientists at Stanford and at large.” In this, Stanford gives the credit to her husband, Joshua, saying that she is “best known for her collaboration” with him, but at least they gave her the credit for being a “trailblazer.” This is their way of demoting her accomplishments just because she is a woman, in my opinion. It is surprising to me that the institution still chooses to give her the least credit in her accomplishments in this article posted in 2006. According to a different source, “Her tenure was even revoked by Stanford after being demoted to Adjunct Professor of Medical Microbiology. Joshua, on the other hand, was appointed to be the founder and chairman of the Department of Genetics.” That is really unfair but that is just how it was for her. She was just completely overshadowed by her husband in their professional careers and accomplishments.

Esther Lederberg in the lab at Stanford University
Esther Lederberg in the lab at Stanford University Source

According to one source, a fellow colleague at Stanford,  Stanley Falkow, a retired microbiologist said in an email that, “She deserved credit for the discovery of lambda phage, her work on the F fertility factor, and, especially, replica plating.” Also, according to Falkow, in reference to her treatment by and at Stanford, “She had to fight just to be appointed as a research associate professor, whereas she surely should have been afforded full professorial rank. She was not alone. Women were treated badly in academia in those days.” This confirms my speculations earlier about how Stanford was demoting her just because she was a woman.

Esther Lederberg gives a lecture in Japan in 1962.
Esther Lederberg gives a lecture in Japan in 1962. Source: Stanford, photo courtesy of Matthew Simon

According to her memorial page at Stanford, her colleagues at Stanford, Stanley Falkow, PhD, the Robert W. and Vivian K. Cahill Professor in Cancer Research, “Experimentally and methodologically she was a genius in the lab.”

According to a source, Lederberg “retired from Stanford University in 1985 as one of the first female professors in the microbiology and immunology department. She had earned her masters [sic] degree in genetics there in 1946 and received a PhD from the University of Wisconsin in 1950.”

In addition to her passion of science, she loved music. According to a source, “She founded the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra in 1962, which still draws amateur musicians in the area to play compositions from the 13th century to the present.” She is said to have always wanted to play the flute, but she loved the recorder, according to an article quoting an interview with Lederberg and the San Francisco Chronicle.

As we can see, Esther Lederberg definitely made some impressive accomplishments in the STEM field. Her achievements in the field were snubbed from her due to being under the wing of her husband who took credit as the leader of the research. Also, she was demoted by Stanford in many ways most likely just because she was a woman. Thankfully her story is out there and she is getting the credit that she deserves.

Have you ever considered how women have been forgotten in STEM? It is definitely something to think about and consider. I would love to hear what you have to say about this topic in the comment section below. I value your feedback and am interested to know about some other women that were forgotten in history or just in general. Check out my about page and my contact page. I hope you enjoyed this blog as much as I did.

Are Emojis Replacing Words?

Two phones displaying the emoji keyboard as well as some text examples of usage of emojis.
Two phones displaying the emoji keyboard as well as some text examples of usage of emojis. Source

In my Digital Grammar class, we have been discussing emojis. Digital Grammar is about how grammar and language are utilized in a digital space, like online or on a smartphone. As you might already know, smartphones have the ability to utilize emojis when it comes to text messages and other forms of instant messaging communication, as well as on most applications where there is a space for inputting text. A lot of people have caught on to using emojis to show emotion and make the mood of digital writing a little lighter and have more emotion. In our class, we have seen examples where things are going a lot further. Some people have started to use emojis to completely replace all text in digital writing. How is this word replacement with emojis going to affect digital writing?

Emojis are so popular that they have become stuffed
Emojis are so popular that they have become stuffed “animals” or plush toys. Source

I have always thought the advent of emojis to be cool and useful when used to show emotion and tone in a digital text like text messaging and instant messaging. Apparently, according to a blog post that I found, emojis were invented by a Japanese communications company in the 1990s. This probably explains why there are so many sushi and Japanese treats emojis. Anyhow, it is interesting that emojis were created at about the time that I was born and now they are very widely used in my generation but no everyone has caught on to this new use of completely replacing text with emojis. I am talking whole messages with just emojis. I cannot read them usually! How is this effective as communication? I originally thought that emojis were helpful by adding a few to the end of a message to express that you are not angry and you are generally happy or whatever the tone of the message is supposed to be, but no text and just emojis now? I am not feeling it at all.

In our class, we beheld a press release from Chevrolet about their new Cruze sedan. According to Chevrolet in the article, “Words alone can’t describe the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Cruze.” I do agree with the “words alone can’t describe” aspect of this, but this article is written completely in emojis. I cannot even read it entirely. I agree that words alone are not always the best way to describe something in a digital space. It is completely appropriate to add emojis or other pictorial elements to a digital writing for clarity, but when it affects clarity, then there is a big problem. I am going to say that a lot of people cannot fully read this style of writing. Can you read it? Do you think that it is an effective form of communication?

An example of the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze press release written only in emojis.
An example of the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze press release written only in emojis. Source: Chevrolet.com

In a blog post that I read, the writer says explained that they did an experiment where they would try to converse in only emojis for a whole day. It got problematic when the writer tried conversing only in emojis with their parents. I’m not talking a smiley-face emoji, I am talking a full “sentence” of just emojis. The mother responded with: “What does that mean?” and “Maybe it’s best we don’t take part in this experiment.” This is funny, but so true. It is hard for people to decipher the emojis as a language. Even though the mother was from a different generation, there are a lot of people from younger generations that cannot (or will not even try to) decipher emoji-only writing.

A dictionary. Where do emojis fit in the dictionary?
A dictionary. Where do emojis fit in the dictionary? Source

To make matters worse, according to another blog that I read, emojis have started to make their way into the dictionary as words of the day in the Oxford English Dictionary. I find this a bit problematic, granted I understand that specific emojis have meanings, but emojis are not words themselves, at least from my understanding. Emojis are symbols that represent certain things! They are not words themselves. But if they are now in the dictionary, the main source of codifying English, I suppose they are words now. I suppose if they are in the dictionary now, people can look them up if they need clarification. But wait…between what guide words would I find the new emojis? Also, how would I search for them in an online dictionary? By description? Confusing! This is too much!

In conclusion, I think that emojis are really cool and they are a great way for one to express themselves in a message or digital writing. To answer my original question, no, emojis are not replacing words, in my personal opinion. I think that emojis are symbols and are used to represent things that are not easily represented with text or words.

What do you think about emojis? Do you think that emojis are words or symbols? How do you feel about emojis making their way into the Oxford English Dictionary as words? I would love to see what you have to say about emojis. Feel free to leave me feedback in the comment section below or check out my contact page. I would really appreciate any kind of feedback! If you would like to know more about me, check out my about page. I hope you enjoyed exploring this topic as much as I did.

Roslyn Pope

This blog, the last in my set about the students of the Atlanta Student Movement, is no different from the rest. This blog’s purpose is to also bring the focus of the Movement to the students and make them and their contributions known. The Atlanta Student Movement and the Atlanta Sit-ins are very obscure when it comes to knowing about the actual students and I think that this needs to be addressed. In this blog, I will focus on Roslyn Pope, a student in the Atlanta Student Movement.

Roslyn Pope is acknowledged as being the president of the Student Government Association at Spelman College. That being said, Pope was a student at Spelman College as well.

Roslyn Pope's listing in what appears to list of students, possibly a yearbook
Roslyn Pope’s listing in what appears to list of students, possibly a yearbook Source

 

Roslyn Pope is also known for signing the manifesto of the whole Movement. Roslyn Pope is forever recognized in the document “An Appeal for Human Rights” with her name at the end of the document. Pope is recognized at the end of the document because she is mainly the one that drafted the document and is given the credit for writing it. One source even gives her full credit for writing the manifesto. According to a source, Pope was the “author” of it. The document is about “the disparities within the education system, housing, and voting rights but also forced the nation to reevaluate the injustices plaguing the youth,” according to that same source.

According to Pope in a source, she explained that because of time constraints, she was in charge of writing the whole document single-handedly. She said that Lonnie King assigned that job to her. She felt empowered after just returning from study abroad in Paris with, “Having just returned from a year of study in Paris as a Merrill Scholar, I was not in the mood to return to segregation and second-class citizenship,” according to that same source. Seeing what it was like in another country to be treated differently, she knew that it was time to list the grievances that she felt that her people needed to address with their home city, Atlanta. This experience is what gave her the strength to write the whole document single-handedly apparently.

According to Roslyn Pope in an interview video, race-relations in Atlanta, when the Student Movement began, were the same as I would imagine, throughout the South, there were laws against black people, Negroes at the time, prohibiting us from sitting in certain places, eating in certain places, riding on certain modes of transportation, going to certain places of entertainment, if we were able to go see a movie, let’s say at the Fox Theatre, we were forced to walk up the back steps outside … we couldn’t use the public library downtown–segregation laws were extremely strict.”

According to another interview video, Roslyn came back after her Paris trip “full of anger, you couldn’t really tell because I still looked like a nice, young Spelman  woman, but … I was asking what can I do, how can we change this?” (Going to add more here.)

On April 11, 2003, Roslyn Pope was honored by her alma mater, Spelman College, receiving an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters for her work in the Movement.

Thankfully, the movement will be getting a plaque on the Rich’s building which will further bring the Atlanta Student Movement at Rich’s into focus like the rest of the Student Movements around the country that were fighting to end segregation in public establishments. In recent news, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Rich’s building will be getting a plaque for “commemorating the Atlanta Student Movement’s Oct. 19, 1960, protest to desegregate the Rich’s Department Store in downtown Atlanta.” I think that this is a big step in making the Movement more known to the people of Atlanta and getting the history of Rich’s Atlanta out there.

Do you think that the movement is getting the attention that it deserves? Why are these people not so well known, like Roslyn Pope? Why is all of the information about the students of the movement so obscure? Do you think that the Movement and the students of the Movement need more notoriety? Feel free to leave me a comment in the comment section below or check out my contact page. Also, if you would like to learn more about me, feel free to visit my about page. I appreciate any feedback that you may have on this topic as a whole. Thank you for reading my blog and I really hope that you enjoyed these blog posts meant to bring the students to the front of the Atlanta Student Movement.

Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson

I have taken it upon myself to make the students of the Atlanta Student Movement more well known. In this blog, I will bring yet another student to the front of the Movement. I think that this is really important for the Atlanta Student Movement, because, a lot of the time, the students from the Atlanta Student Movement seem to be glossed over and there just does not seem to be enough credit given to the ones that were actually doing the work–the students. I think that the students are truly the most important aspect of the Movement and their names need to be known. So for this blog, I have decided to do some research on Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson.

There is a lot of information online about Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson, but interestingly, conforming to my whole point about the Atlanta Movement, there is almost no information about her specific involvement in the Atlanta Movement available to the common reader. There is just not a lot of information about the Atlanta Movement out there and we have to change that.

A portrait of Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson
A portrait of Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson from the public domain Source

In 1960, Smith-Robinson enrolled as a student at Spelman College in Atlanta. This is also when she became interested in the Atlanta Student Movement and the Civil Rights Movement in general. Sadly, Smith-Robinson lived only seven more years after joining the Movement. Smith-Robinson’s involvement was much bigger than just the Atlanta Movement, and she even participated in the Movements of other cities in the south, because she was very involved in SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson is known for her leading role in the SNCC. She is known for being “one of SNCC’s most powerful administrators.” According to a source, “No one in SNCC was tougher than Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson.” Her work with the SNCC dealt with dealt with being a leading activist for the group on the field and for her work “as an administrator in the Atlanta central office.”

A pensive and happy photo of Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson
A pensive and happy photo of Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson from the public domain Source

It is said that Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson participated in the Rich’s Sit-ins in Atlanta alongside the important people of the Movement that everyone knows. They targeted the Magnolia Room which was said to be segregated. In my class, it has been said that a soda can was thrown at her during the sit-in, but I could not find any evidence of this. I will have to come back to this issue at another time when I find out more information on her involvement in the sit-in. I cannot get over how sparse the information is online about her since she is said to have been tremendously involved in the movement and with SNCC. Smith-Robinson is also said to have been so very dedicated to the cause that she would picket and protest even if nobody joined her, but I could not find a source for this either.

In 1961, Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson went to Rock Hill, South Carolina to participate in their sit-ins. She worked alongside one of the more well-known SNCC leaders, Diane Nash. This is the Movement where they started and Smith-Robinson became famous for her role in the “Jail-No-Bail” sit-in tactic. Smith-Robinson and around 100 protesters stayed in jail for the 30-day jail sentences.

Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson is also known for being a Freedom Rider. In 1961, she started her activism work in the Freedom Rides. During the Summer Campaign of 1964, She was arrested in Jackson, Mississippi and served 45 days in Parchman Penitentiary according to a source.

According to a source, Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson married her husband Clifford Robinson in 1964. The next year, in 1965, their son was born. His name is Kenneth Toure Robinson. That same year, she graduated Spelman College with a bachelor’s degree in physical education.

In January of 1967, according to that same source, her health began to decline and she had to be hospitalized. She was diagnosed with terminal cancer by April of that year. Her death followed within that same year, and she died on October 9, 1967.

With such a short life, who would have thought that someone could do so much? Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson inspires me to stand up for what I believe in no matter what the cost. As a student, Smith-Robinson really puts into perspective what a student can do to be a leader within their community and among their peers. How do you feel about Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson? Does she inspire you at all? Did I miss anything about this amazing woman? Why are the student roles in the Atlanta Student Movement not published online like most of the other famous student activists? Any ideas? Feel free to leave me a comment in the comment section below or check out my contact page. Also, if you would like to learn more about me, feel free to visit my about page. Thank you for reading my blog and I really hope that you are enjoying these blog posts meant to bring the students to the front of the Atlanta Student Movement.

Proper Grammar and Punctuation in Texting? Yes, please.

 

A woman reading a text
A woman reading a text Source

Texting, as well as any instant messaging platform out there, are the go-to sources for communication these days. A lot of articles and sources have recently tried to make the argument that grammar isn’t important when it comes to texting. A lot of these sources have also claimed that using proper grammar in texting makes one seem mad or angry. But who is to really say that we shouldn’t use proper grammar when texting if we want to? In my personal opinion, I think that there is nothing wrong with using proper grammar and punctuation when texting especially in the realm of clarity. In this blog, I am going to explain why I think that using proper grammar and punctuation in texting is okay and may be a good thing.

Has there ever been a time that you misunderstood or couldn’t even understand the person that you were texting because they didn’t use proper grammar or punctuation? Think about it. Sometimes people type longer texts and if they do not separate their ideas, it may be possible to completely overlook certain aspects like embedded questions. I think that it is highly possible for a question to be disregarded or taken as a statement if there is no question mark, because through text, the reader does not get to hear the intonation of a question. It looks the same as all of the other text if there is no question mark.

This brings up the fact that texting does not allow the verbal aspect of conversation, only the non-verbal words. Suppose someone texted you and said, “Were you at home.” What does this exactly mean? Does it mean, “Were you at home?” Or does it mean, “Where you at, home?” In cases like this, I think that some apostrophes, commas, and punctuation could be helpful to the reader of your text. If the person meant “Where you at, home?” but you read “Were you at home?” and you respond with “Yes.” this could be a texting disaster depending on the context and who you are talking to.

A sample text message that shows problematic word choice and respective miscommunication
A sample text message that shows problematic word choice and respective miscommunication

It is really easy to misinterpret a text message due to it being just text. You are just reading the messages with no non-verbal communication and this can lead to misinterpretation. This is due to pragmatics. When someone misunderstands what a text message is trying to convey, this is a pragmatics issue. People sometimes semantically read what the text message says and this is where things can go wrong. This is how misinterpretation happens in texting. This is also how someone can be misinterpreted as being “short” or possibly not wanting to talk.

I think that using proper grammar and punctuation will help to clarify the pragmatics of a text messaging conversation. It is easier to misrepresent if you chose to not use proper grammar and punctuation. I find it very problematic to associate punctuation use with being angry. I think that people should assume the risk of being misunderstood when they choose to not use proper grammar and punctuation in a text. Obviously, it is perfectly fine to send a simple statement without a period via text, but if the meaning is unclear without proper grammar and punctuation, this is where I and many others draw the line on what is acceptable when it comes to texting.

Consider this. Even though some sources say that it is uncool or whatever to use proper grammar and punctuation when texting, there is actually data saying that, according to a source, “a recent study by Match.com found that 69% of female respondents said they judge men on their grammar.” I am going to go out on a limb here to say that men probably also judge others for using bad grammar (because I certainly do). I agree with Nicole Caldwell, this source’s author, that you may “want to make the argument that text abbreviations are actually a genius form of shorthand, fine. But can you really still not figure out where an apostrophe goes? I’m not the only person to have swiped left on [rejected] people who can’t figure out the difference between you’re and your.” The different forms of seemingly similar words like there, their, and they’re as well as your and you’re are commonly misrepresented in texting and social media. You may be able to withhold periods and commas when it comes to texting, but it is inexcusable to use the wrong word when it comes to the different forms of words like these. I can see how misuse can totally misconstrue the meaning of a text.

I hope you enjoyed this blog and found it as interesting as I did. How do you feel about using proper grammar and punctuation when texting? Do you think that it helps the reader understand the message? Do you think ending a sentence with punctuation is appropriate or uncool? Does it make someone seem angry, mad, or indifferent? Feel free to let me know in the comments section below. I value your feedback. Check out my contact page and my about page to learn more about me.

The Students of the Atlanta Student Movement and Rich’s Sit-ins

One of the things that I noticed when I was searching the internet for information about the Atlanta Sit-ins is that there are almost no names of the actual people that participated in the Atlanta Student Movement and the Atlanta Rich’s Sit-ins. It is interesting because when you look up some of the other sit-ins that happened in other cities, there are plenty of student participants named. I am honestly curious why the Atlanta student participants are not named in the online encyclopedias, articles, and whatnot. In my class, we came across two names and they stood out to me, so I decided to do some research on them since that is what I said that I wanted to do in my other post.

For this blog, I am going to focus on bringing the students of the Atlanta Student Movement to the front since they were the ones that were actually out there getting it all done. I am going to focus this blog specifically on the Clark College, now known as Clark Atlanta University, student advocates Lydia Tucker Arnold and Carolyn Long Banks. They both participated in the meetings, the sit-ins, and they were both arrested. They did not know it at the time, but they were making history in Atlanta. From their humble beginnings as student advocates and concerned citizens, they would both also become great leaders in the Atlanta community.

Lydia Tucker Arnold, known as Lydia Tucker at the time, was the secretary of student government at Clark College. During her senior year at Clark in February 1960, Tucker Arnold was invited to a meeting of student government officers of the Atlanta University Center institutions where the intentions of fellow student activist Lonnie King were discussed. According to Tucker Arnold in a video, this is where the idea of the Atlanta Student Movement was introduced to the people in attendance. Tucker Arnold thought that Lonnie King’s idea was “absolutely crazy” but as he kept talking, she sparked an interest in it all because she “knew of the evilness that was going on at that time…but not being able to sit at a lunch counter because your skin is black is just not right, does not make sense, so I wanted to be a part of eradicating that kind of foolishness.” According to Tucker Arnold in the same video, the main goal of the Atlanta Student Movement was to “destroy segregation in the city of Atlanta” with regards to being able to sit at the lunch counters and enter establishments through the front door. Tucker Arnold was also a part of a boycott where “we asked everyone to send their credit cards in to us and don’t shop…” As an officer, she was a founding member of the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights. In March 1960, she and other students participated in sit-ins. After participating in three sit-ins, she was arrested and stayed in jail for two weeks. She eventually served on Atlanta’s city council.

Carolyn Long Banks, known as Carolyn Long at the time, was also a student at Clark College. She also served on the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights. During the time of the sit-ins, some of the meetings occurred in the Long family home. She was one of the students that participated in the Rich’s sit-ins. Long participated by sitting-in at “the hotsy-totsy restaurant,” the Magnolia Tea Room on the second floor of Rich’s. She sat with the publisher of the Atlanta Daily World. According to Long Banks, “I was so nervous; we ate our food and left. Then I was arrested.” Long was apparently subsequently arrested four times. After attending graduate school in Hawaii, she returned to Atlanta in 1969 and, according to Ebony magazine in August 1989, was surprised to see Rich’s desegregated with black employees working the hat counter. Carolyn Long Banks is also known for being the first black woman to serve on Atlanta’s city council.

I think that it is really important to get the names of these Atlanta Student Movement participants out there. It does not make sense that the students of all of the other student movements in other cities got such notoriety and the Atlanta students of the Movement did not become as well known. These two ladies did just as much as some of the students in the other Student Movements, so there needs to be more out there about their accomplishments. The members of the Atlanta Student Movement are important to Atlanta history.

I hope you enjoyed my blog! I hope I was able to present these two amazing ladies, Lydia Tucker Arnold and Carolyn Long Banks in the best way possible. These ladies truly are inspirations for students with their dedication to their cause. Do you know anything else about Lydia Tucker Arnold or Carolyn Long Banks? If so, let me know! Feel free to leave me a comment in the comment section of this blog. If you have any feedback, be sure to check out my contact page. Thank you for reading!

Is Texting Really Ruining Grammar for Kids these Days?

 

Two people texting
Two people texting Source

Pretty much everybody is texting these days! Even if it is not SMS messages that we are talking about, pretty much everyone is using technology these days to send and receive short messages as texts. As technology advances, there has always been this need of sorts to zero in on how this new technology is detrimental to the children! They used to say that the internet was making it so that kids will not know how to read books and students will not know how to do old-fashioned research. Well, that was certainly not true! You can read and research with books over the internet! I can hear people in my head saying that kids aren’t going to know how to talk on the phone anymore because they are too focused on that screen texting…Well, who would want to! I don’t. Texting is so efficient and I don’t have to deal with telemarketers!

On Facebook, one of my main sources for getting my news, I have read a lot of articles letting me know that texting is going to or has already ruined grammar. According to an article released by Penn State, “Text messaging…could lead to declining language and grammar skills, according to researchers.” Interestingly enough, they address it as a problem for “tweens.” I honestly think the issue is bigger than just tweens, if it is even an issue, but I am going to take one for the team since I am from the texting generation and say that I am not buying it…I do not really see texting eroding the very foundation of writing and grammar.

A book that has been artistically rendered to say "OMG LOL"
A book that has been artistically rendered to say “OMG LOL” Source

I will admit, when I am texting, I do regularly say “LOL” and abbreviate commonly used phrases with a texting shorthand. I personally do not think this is a new thing at all. My grandmother who does not text at all even to this day knew that LOL means “laugh out loud” and sometimes “lots of love” depending on the context.  We had this conversation years ago when the Nokia brick phones were the main phones to have and AIM was everyone’s main means of communicating digitally. Obviously if someone is going to say “LOL” they know that it has a meaning, they are not simply going around saying “lol,” they know it is an abbreviation for the action of laughing out loud.

According to a really cool article that I found, there is actually research leaning in the direction of texting not ruining anything but actually being beneficial. It is said that “exposure to “textisms” (the abbreviated spellings of text messages) is actually associated with better literacy skills.” The writer of this article, Nenagh Kemp, a professor at Coventry University in the UK along with her colleagues have concluded through research that “we found no evidence that the use of grammatical violations in text messages is consistently related to poorer grammatical or spelling skills in school students.”

I find this very relevant and confirming. I believe that people actually are conscious that texting is an appropriate time to use textisms and have the ability and intelligence to switch to a more standard version of the language when they want to be taken seriously or professionally. I also believe that students would understand that when it is time to write an essay, and upon teacher instruction to write a paper according to guidelines, that they would code-switch into writing with appropriate standard spellings and complete sentences if they were taught how to do these things. If they were not taught spellings and what complete sentences are, of course there is going to be an issue with spelling and complete sentences! I do not see someone saying LOL, OMG, or WTF in an essay! I grew up saying all of these things, it did not hinder me! I am not buying it!

A typical text conversation with textisms
A typical text conversation with textisms

It is also important to mention omission and unconventional use of punctuation in regards to texting. Recently I have heard that it is considered rude or that you are mad or angry if you text with periods. Texting without periods is actually quite common when it comes to texting. It has been said that using periods in texting is problematic because it denotes anger or being too short as if you really don’t want to chat. I can see where they are coming from with this, but I do not think that this is always the intention of the person. I always text with my own version of correct texting grammar, and I always use periods. I am not trying to be short with anybody, and I generally love to chat. If someone wants to use periods and punctuation in their texts, that is their choice!

What do you think? Feel free to let me know how you feel about this topic in the comments section of this blog. I also appreciate any feedback, so check out my about section.