No matter where you are or with whom you are interacting, you know that your audience matters. Understanding how to speak to your audience isn't just for stage presentations; it's a valuable tool for everyday life. If a policeman stops you because you were speeding on the highway, it wouldn't be wise to talk to him like you talk to your bothersome little brother. You talk with your friends differently than you do with your teachers, and you talk with your grandparents differently than you do with your parents. You've learned that rules vary depending upon the environment you are in or the people you are with. From an early age, we grasp that audience matters, and that life is easier if we adhere to the "rules" for interaction with our various audiences. In linguistics, this is called a "register" - the variety and type of language you use in a social setting.
It's the same with writing. Writing is like a code and code matters. When you are texting a friend, you use a certain code. When you write a research paper you use another code. It's all English, but it's a different kind of English-different coding for what you want to say. One of the big problems with multiple codes is that sometimes when you are writing, the wrong code often seeps into places where it shouldn't be. While your grandmother would love to get an email from you, unless she's very hip, she probably wouldn't appreciate a note that said, "i think u are the greatest gm your jokes make me lol". Besides the computer slang/abbreviations, which she may not understand, you haven't used proper grammar and punctuation, which she might not appreciate.
Teachers are noticing that computer code is showing up in reports, papers, and homework. According to an article in the Chicago Sun-Times, a student said, "It's like you have two languages in your head. Sometimes, the language you use for texting bleeds into the work you do for school."
Finding Out What's Acceptable in School Texting, Blogging, Chatting, etc.
Let's suppose you teacher includes some assignments that require texting, blogging and other forms of digital communication. Your participation may count for a grade, so you'll want to know what code is acceptable for this type of schoolwork. While some teachers may allow texting abbreviations, others may not. Check about capitalization and punctuation as well. Many teachers will want you to use proper English even when chatting, blogging, and texting. So before you fade into the ease of your usual texting pattern, find out what your teacher expects.
What's Never Acceptable
Unless you are writing a paper or a report about texting code and use some examples in it; homework, reports, essays, papers, stories, presentations, and projects should never include texting code. You must write all of these in standard English. Don't include any computer slang or abbreviations, make sure you write in good sentences and paragraphs, spell correctly, and add punctuation.
Also, keep in mind that when you email teachers, you'll want to use proper English. They won't appreciate receiving an email that's written in texting code. You'll probably hear about it the next day in class, or they may simply refuse to respond to your less-than-acceptable note.
Editing for Code Problems
Because you probably spend loads of time texting, it will be very easy for you to make a mistake and put texting code into your regular schoolwork even though you don't mean to insert it. Teachers say they really don't see many text abbreviations because students catch them quickly, but they do see an increasing amount of poor capitalization and punctuation in what students hand in.
To make sure you don't get lower grades because you use texting code in your writing or simply let parts of it drift in accidentally, you'll need to put your proof-reading into high gear before you hand in your school work (or your college essays). If your teacher allows you to send your work electronically, it's way too easy to just press send or place your work in the dropbox without going over it carefully.
Just remember: Don't submit anything without giving it a thorough check-not a browse through. You are so used to texting code that you may not see what you need to see. Read your work slowly word by word and for big projects like papers, reports and presentations, maybe you can get someone else to help you check it.