I agree with a lot of this article that says typos don’t matter. Getting overly fussed over typos is silly: it’s the message that matters. And typos don’t have much to do with intelligence and maybe with how good a writer you are (at least, it’s not proportionate – you could be a great proof-reader and an indifferent writer.) (Case in point – I just wrote ‘indiffirent’ in that last sentence and took half a minute figuring out why the word had that red squiggly line under it.) (Though my being a better-than-indifferent writer is up for debate, of course.) And yes, pointing out typos is just a way for other people to mock you and feel superior.
Wait. Back up. Read that last sentence in the last paragraph again.
Typos don’t matter much if you’re a lone blogger – in fact, a judicious typo or two probably make you seem more human. I’ve seen blog posts where one commenter pointed out a typo and other faithful readers leaped to the blogger’s defense. And that’s fair – if you’re putting your content out there for me to read for free, I shouldn’t be quibbling over a typo or two.
But if you are a business, typos matter. Like other ways of signaling credibility and professionalism, well-written, error-free text signals that you mean business. You have staff (or hey, a friend) who proof-read your copy. You have website visitors or blog readers who’d point out an error so you can fix it.
And heck yeah, if you’re the New York Times, typos matter. If you’ve got teams of editorial and production staff, we’ve got every right to laugh at errors you make.
And typos can be funny. Once when I was in college, I was helping a prof by typing something into the new department desktop. He sat by me, my prof, and maybe the keyboard was at an awkward angle or something, but instead of typing ‘second’ I kept typing ‘sex…’ Any of my other profs would have been embarrassed – this prof laughed without awkwardness, which probably goes to show why I still try and keep in touch with him.
And here, for your amusement, is my first reaction to that article. Click here for the conversation that followed.
— Unmana (@Unmana) November 5, 2014