Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Droid - Attempting to Make Us Less Stupid, One Text at a Time


I recently updated my phone to the Motorola Droid, as I am a sucker when it comes to Google services. I have been using Gmail and Gtalk since 2005, so I was excited to get the Droid, which has these services integrated into it. And I, like most geeks, am a sucker for gadgets and electronic gizmos.
One thing I noticed right away was that the Droid auto corrects capitalization and some punctuation. This was exciting to me, as my least favorite consequence of the digital age is the loss of the art of communication. Sure, it's annoying to get a text saying "were r u," but when I saw that kind of spelling and grammar show up in a college junior's paper I was peer reviewing, I knew it was far worse than I imagined. Sure, I knew that people have lost all sense of using the apostrophe correctly, and far too many people have no idea what the difference between "your" and "you're" is. The Droid isn't going to fix that, either.
But what the Droid does do is that it auto capitalizes a single "i" and it puts in a period after a double space. It also auto capitalizes the first letter of a sentence, so long as a period is used. These may seem like little things, and well they are little things, but they could very well act as visual clues to make people more aware of their grammar.
I'm sure you're thinking "Oh come on. They're just text messages." And you'd have a point. But your communication represents you, and in our electronic age, written communication is often a person's first impression of you. Why not make it a good one? 
Originally posted 21 April 2010

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