OMG! Mind your language

By Claire-Marie | 30th January 2017

With technology always within reach, communication is quicker and easier than it has ever been. Emails, text messages, social media and apps all make it possible to share your thoughts in an instant, but as we let our fingers do the talking, is the message getting lost?

In the UK alone, around 93% of adults either personally own or use a mobile phone and as many admit they text more than they talk, it seems inevitable people will be using acronyms or abbreviations to communicate more quickly – perhaps without even knowing it.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of modern day examples of ‘shorthand’ text; you are likely to live in a cave or still only communicate using pen and paper if you have not yet come across ‘LOL’, ‘OMG’, or ‘GR8’ in a text message or on social media. But does the shortening of everyday words have a place in PR?

From a business perspective, if you’re trying to create a punchy headline relevant for a blog or release then using an acronym is acceptable. It is also fine to initialise words or phrases in the main content as long as they are spelled out the first instance and followed with the abbreviation in parentheses – ‘Oh my God (OMG)’. Any subsequent references in the piece can then be referred to using the acronym alone. You never know who will be reading the content so it is best not to assume what level of informality readers will tolerate.

The main thing to remember when writing for or about your business is to be clear about your message; is it likely to confuse readers? If the answer is yes, rewrite your work so it is easier to understand. Failure to deliver a concise message may give readers the impression that you cannot grasp what you’re trying to say yourself, which is not only embarrassing, it’s also unprofessional.

If time is of the essence but you do not have the hours to dedicate to writing press releases or blogs, do not risk your readers ‘ROFL’ by throwing something together hastily – discuss your content requirements with an experienced copywriter who can efficiently provide professional material.

So, whilst acronyms may have a place in instant messaging, it seems clear that overuse in business writing can cause you to lose potential opportunities in, well, an instant!

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