Do typos count?
Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist blog says that it’s time for people to stop mouthing off about typos in blogs and focus on the ideas. Contribute to intelligent discussion instead of fault-finding over minutiae. Loosen up a little. Give up your outdated preoccupations and your annoying perfectionism. Your really annoying perfectionism.*
Some readers find typos distracting and unprofessional, think that they detract from the credibility of the text. Ms. Trunk appears to think that the problem in such cases is with the reader rather than the writer. And her point that she does consult an editor, paying more attention to content than to spelling, has merit.
I agree that slack, rambling, dull writing is much more an offense against the reader than the occasional slip of the fingers on the keyboard. But, a copy editor to my bones, I can’t give up the idea that clean copy — copy correctly spelled and punctuated — has a virtue that slovenly copy, however original, does not. It is a highly visible aspect of the way writers present themselves.**
Perhaps you differ. Feel free to say so.
* Commenters who point out my typos are welcome to continue doing so. I’m always open to correction. Pointing out other people’s typos, however, might come across as obnoxious.
** Just as the way people dress constitutes how they present themselves. While we have gotten a lot more casual, and many people have neglected the opportunity to learn how to tie a bow tie, I don’t think that we can safely conclude that dress doesn’t matter.