San Francisco, Calif. — Most consumer Internet startups focus on gaining funding, accessing top talent, or providing Google-esque perks, but a Bay Area automated proofreading company is navigating a different set of issues.
“I am terrified to send emails,” said a team member at Grammarly.com. “Because I work with a company dedicated to improving written communication, all of my email is subject to intense scrutiny. Even my friends have started to point out the tiniest mistakes in my writing.”
Nationally, employees at writing-related companies have expressed similar fears in publishing articles without reviewing them at least five times, or updating their social media profiles. The problem is largely the handiwork of grammar geeks and word nerds with 24×7 Internet access and a penchant for trolling.
“Before I press ‘send,’ I find myself reading and re-reading my outgoing mail at least five times,” said another Grammarly team member. “Last month, I nearly forgot to include a comma before ‘and’ when listing three items in a series – after that, I communicated exclusively by telephone for a week.”
But some experts do not see a problem.
“How can human beings go on living if they know that someone is wrong on the Internet?” asked a representative from Reddit.com. “By detecting minor grammar errors and publicly shaming those responsible, grammar geeks and word nerds are creating transparency around the issue of written communication.”
Grammarly provides team members with email exposure therapy and daily counseling sessions, but the stress is taking a toll.
“Last year, in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, we asked our Facebook fans which teacher had the biggest impact on their love of reading or writing,” said a member of Grammarly’s social media team. “Rather than answer the question, some fans started a scathing dialogue about whether ‘impact’ is an acceptable verb. Dictionaries went flying.”
In a written statement, one of Grammarly’s senior executives said, “With respect to written communication, the bar is high. That’s [literally] all I am comfortable saying right now.”
Employees at automated proofreading companies are not the only ones under scrutiny. Teachers are increasingly blamed for their part in perpetuating poor writing education. Legal constraints prevent grammar geeks and word nerds from infiltrating the classroom, but writing activists have circumvented this with standardized testing and other initiatives.
* This is a satirical blog post that we’ve written to mimic a typical newspaper article. It is meant to brighten your day, and not to offend. No Grammarly team members were harmed in the writing of this piece; and (for the most part) we are not really afraid to send emails. #FunnyFriday @TheOnion needs us!