The only useful thing I learned in high school was how to touch-type. It a good thing to know, even with the awkwardness of the QWERTY keyboard. (Its purpose was not to slow typists down, by the way. It was to prevent early typewriters from jamming.)
Texting requires different skills though. For some reason, the hardest one for me has been getting initial caps where I want them with the iPad. Something about the timing of the touch for “Cap” — I haven’t got it down.
The age of written (versus spoken) communication has taken us back to another time. We now know what it was like to write a letter and wait for a response. Someone posts a Facebook status update and checks back in several times a day, hoping for comments and likes in the same way that a letter writer opens the mailbox every day, looking for an answer.
As an ex-English major, I greet the rise of written communication with pleasure. I am in my strength with it.
But the rise of written communication also means the rise of the typo. Dealing with typos is now part of everyone’s life.
Typos come easily in a world of keyboards. That is why we have spell-checkers, shortcuts, and auto-correct. The purpose is not just to save keystrokes. It is to ease the typo burden. We first-worlders spend a lot of time tapping out messages on little keyboards unsuited to human hands. But computers are inflexible, and we are adaptable, so we do what we always do: adapt.
Imagine how much time goes into fixing typos, apologizing for typos, and being embarrassed by typos. The productivity drain, on a worldwide level, must be staggering.
Like death and taxes, typos are certainties. In the 200,000 or so years that modern humans have walked the earth, we have never before had to deal with typos as a way of life. But here they are and here we are, and we fix, fix, fix them.