March 03, 2011

Texting Gone Wrong Because of Auto Correct Leads to Website Innovation


It’s already embarrassing enough when after having one too many tequila shots you send the not so subtle text message – full of inappropriate undertones – to that guy you met in the bar just a few days ago.

It’s even worse when you are dead sober and you send an inappropriate message because auto correct, a feature on many cell phones that fixes your spelling errors, thought that instead of “luck” you meant… well you get the idea.

In any event, unintentional messages are being sent over the cyber texting world every single day because the auto correct feature that is found on iPhones, iPads, BlackBerrys and most smartphones often decides that it is in fact smarter than you.

Damn You, Auto Correct!, a website that launched in October 30, 2010, offers a public forum for people wishing to receive support after a text to an employer stating “I have to take a sick day” was auto corrected into something  a little more profane. Think of it as an Alcoholics Anonymous type of thing where instead of talking about how you fought temptation to take a sip of liquor last night you fought temptation to throw your cell out the window after you told your boss something that would have otherwise been innocent.

“The response has been completely overwhelming,” site creator Jillian Madison told TMCnet in a recent interview about Damn You, Auto Correct! “Literally overnight, the blog started seeing 1 million page views per day and it was going viral across Facebook (News - Alert) and Twitter.”

The site currently receives 1.5 million page views per day and gets over 500 user submissions per day.

When asked what Madison hopes people take away from their visit to her site, she said, “I think it's that they should definitely proofread before hitting send! Autocorrect has a mind – and often a dirty mind –of its own. Yes, you can disable the feature on your phone, but why would you want to? It often helps more than it hurts, and the results can be amusing.”

According to recent statistics published by RunText, a company which provides a text message marketing service for business who wish to quickly and easily communicate directly to their customers and clientele, there is no sign that text message use will be slowing down, even in the face of embarrassment.

In 2010, more than 72 percent of cell phone owners sent and received texts, which was up from 65 percent in 2009. Ninety-five percent of individuals between the age of 18 to 29 text. In 2009, United States cell users sent 4.1 billion texts a day, or about 17 messages a day for every cell owner. And, according to Neilson Ratings, the average teen sends about 10 texts per hour during the day which total about 3,000 texts a month per teen.

With statistics this high for text message use, one can only wonder how much more people will flood to Damn You, Auto Correct!

The site was set up by Madison, the co-launcher of another popular site Pophangover. Damn You, Auto Correct! is dedicated to all the “embarrassing, questionable, hilarious, and just plain WTF auto correct moments. If you’ve been screwed by predictive text, we want to know about.”

Although auto correct is “screwing” individuals all over, according to companies that offer the feature, like Apple, auto correct is viewed as just the ticket to allow you to text and send even faster.

“The iPhone (News - Alert) keyboard accelerates your typing because it tracks what you type, then suggests words, corrects spelling, and inserts punctuation for you,” explains Apple at its site. “The trick is to just type away and trust the intelligence of the keyboard.”

Might want to rethink that one Apple (News - Alert), especially when you have a support group of your own for people experiencing auto correct troubles.

And with Apple dominating the market, the auto correct feature – and its subsequent disadvantages – is spreading like wildfire.

By the end of Apple’s fourth quarter in 2010, 14.1 million iPhones and 4.19 million iPads were sold, marking enormous growth from the prior year’s Q4.

In addition, TMC reported last April that a new study by MM Research Institute showed that Apple's iPhone had 72 percent share of the Japanese smartphone market. At the time, there were 2.34 million iPhones in Japan.

So what’s the moral of the story?

In addition to bookmarking the likes of mydrunktexts.com and textsfromlastnight.com so that you can lament a “buzzed” text gone wrong, you might want to add Damn You, Auto Correct! to your list of favorites for a time when you can’t blame the tequila.