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Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Hooray for predictive text!

I have just downloaded a brilliant and award-winning Android app  called SwiftKey which takes predictive text to another level. Your next word is predicted with incredible accuracy and a third of its suggestions are right first time without the need to press more than two letters. By downloading and processing all previous texts you have sent it remembers how you write and it creates a dynamic understanding or your texting style. I just sent a text with 26 characters and only tapped the keyboard 6 times. Talk about quick!

So with the hilarious uploads on is it really a good thing to have your smartphone telling you what to say?
For me, anything that gets rid of the ubiquitous ‘txt spk’ can only be a good thing. Not that there’s anything wrong with text speak, just so long as it is confined to SMS texts and doesn’t stray wantonly into emails or, God forbid, letters!

We have an onsite messaging system on StudentGems for students and graduates to use to make contact with potential employers. From the day we launched we were amazed at how some students did not grasp the concept of ‘first impressions’ and how important it is to make it a good one. Feedback from employers as early as May 2008 was that communication needed to be prompt, polite and correct. After one employer raised it on BBC’s The Learning Curve back in May 2008, Libby Purves took the point further in her column. To her it was the single most important issue.

An example? This is a message from a student to an employer sent yesterday (the username has been changed!):

this is acandi can u send me the details of the job to

Not very impressive. We have made it our mission to stress the importance of a professional standard of communication and have information on the site to help.

Of course it’s not fair to imply that all students are incapable of stringing together a sentence. Most are highly articulate and create a very good impression with their high standard of communication from the outset.

For those who still have a lot to learn, I highly recommend downloading an app like SwiftKey so you can see what a sentence looks like with properly spelt words. Maybe as our phones get smarter the need for text speak will disappear completely.

C u l8er J

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