“Hey! What’s the name of that HBO show you keep telling me to watch?”
“A song of boners.”
“A song of boners? I’m pretty sure that’s not it.”
“Lmao. A GAME OF THROBS I mean.”
“OMG. My auto carts socks tonite.”
“Don’t hurt yourself! Game of Thrones! Got it. Thanks!”
Autocorrect technology on smartphones is AMAZING. A miracle technology. It really is.
It will turn a fat-fingered “tinifht” into the intended “tonight.”
It will turn “Swrdos” into “Swedish.”
And “giisbess” into “goodness.”
I can’t even imagine how ridiculous I might sound if I disabled the feature.
Let me say that again. BUT.
It’s also the most maddening piece-of-shit technology I’ve used as well. While it generates laughs…
…it also drives me insane when I type things 14 times—totally NORMAL properly spelled words—but it still thinks I’m talking about some nonsense I’ve never even heard of before.
I ACTUALLY mean to say the thing I’m typing you stupid SONOFABITCHIN’ phone!!!
It’s brilliant. And completely dumb.
It’s useful. But an obstacle.
It’s helpful. But, my God. It’s also totally shitty.
It Begs the Question
What other things in this world offer such wonderful helpfulness while simultaneously being awful?
What else has the same helpful-to-shitty ratio?
I brainstormed answers with a friend:
Good, but bad. Helpful. But shitty.
‘Thank you for this tie.’
It dawned on me that I wanted to write part of this post on my phone and let autocorrect do its thing.
I’m going to do that right now. I’m going to write a fat-fingered, unedited fake cover letter for a fake writing and editing job I’d like to have. I’m going to write it on my autocorrecting phone, then copy and paste it here.
You know. Just to see what happens.
Dear Sir or Madam:
You need a writer and endure, and I need a job. It’s liken it was meant to be.
Since my first news story’s was published as a college studs t, I have dedicated my life for the craft of writing and editing so tree. Tend my days as a beat reporter in Florida, to an trade publics business writer, and now to an internet marketing professional, I possess the writing chops, experience, and keen eye for derails that you are looking diff in an editor.
I am well-versed in both interns and external communicating best practiced, and am confident I’m qualified R&B you positing.
I howled you’re as excited to meet me as I am for mert you. I very much look firewater for meeting you and I can’t the DJ ruin enough for considering me for your opening.
Thank you for this tie.
“Thank you for this tie.”
That made me laugh.
That was supposed to say “Thank you for your time.”
Autocorrect—helpful, but shitty.
I reply to most blog comments on my phone so “if” gets turned into “of” a lot, or some other ridiculous correction happens with great frequency. Sometimes I see them later and edit them.
I bet a bunch of people read my replies and think I’m a stupid moron. I freak out when I write things poorly. Sometimes I publish blog posts and miss a typo and find it the next day and want to die because hundreds of people read it and now think I’m the dumbest person in the world.
Don’t deny it.
A newspaper gets printed daily. Millions and millions of words. But once in a great while you find a misspelling in a photo caption and think: “Hahahahaha! Look how freaking stupid the paper is! No wonder it’s going out of business!”
I just finished Biz Stone’s Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of a Creative Mind, which is the story of Twitter’s creation from one of its three co-founders. I loved it.
But I found two typos. The book probably has 70,000 words. And I found both typos.
“Applaud” was spelled “appluad” (if I’m remembering right) and the word “from” was used when “for” was intended which I mistakenly do ALL THE TIME.
Otherwise, the book was perfect.
But look at me, sitting here remembering those two things. I wonder whether Biz cares.
I’m working on my first book, and in addition to worrying about whether anyone in the entire world will ever give a shit (besides my mom and grandma, who I actually hope never open it), I also worry about how many mistakes might be published.
I once wrote a post called Clean Copy apologizing to readers for the crappy, typo-infested posts I was publishing.
Even if no one likes anything I write, I hope they hate a well-proofread version of my suckage. I hope they hate clean copy.
What Else is Helpful, But Shitty?
There are so many things.
But I wonder how many things can challenge autocorrect for the top of the Helpful, But Shitty Totem Pole.
I don’t know.
But I bet you do.