Does IM Make U Dum?: "B4 the Net, it wuz unheard of 2 use shorthand like this, unless U were writing a classified ad."
I remember those ads. And I remember not being interested in taking shorthand in school. Who knew?
Seriously, though, I see the impact of IM/texty/whatever you call it on my students. When they e-mail, they use it all the time; luckily, most of them know enough to not use it in actual papers and on projects in school. A few, though, seem to have a problem telling the difference between appropriate and inappropriate writing.
I don't think it makes them look dumb, however. It makes them look like middle school and high school students.
When I see a message from someone my age, however, I worry. I don't have a problem with getting a short text message on my cell from someone that says that they'll be "l8". But an entire message written like that? It's as nails-on-a-blackboardy as reading something from an adult where they confuse your/you're, too/to/two or (as one of my friends has discovered) weather/whether.
I wonder if it's an attempt to act young. It can't be a lack of education because this type of writing didn't arise until recently. And there can't possibly be that many former stenographers out there! (þ: NEXTGENLIB)