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The Northerner

Is that what you meant to say?

Claire Higgins

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If you have a smartphone, it has probably happened to you. You open a text message from your friend, but you’re rushing to make your way to class, so you carelessly type and quickly send a message without proofreading. And then it is gone.

You read back over it, like senior Ben Reisiger did, and realize your text message says, “I’ll dick you up,” when you meant to say you would pick them up. That does not even make sense, you think. Fortunately, your friend responds with a laugh.

For Reisiger, and other students at Northern Kentucky University, the autocorrect feature on smartphones is becoming a source of entertainment. Blogger Jillian Madison used the hilarious autocorrect mistakes to create the Damn You Autocorrect! website and now the book “Damn You, Autocorrect!” published by Hyperion.

The autocorrect function built into smartphones seems to be the culprit for many of the mistakes. Sometimes the results have completely new and unintended meanings, ranging from hilariously bizarre to embarrassingly vulgar.

Freshman Matt Hepner exchanged a text with his mom that left him laughing and embarrassed. “My mom said ‘what are you doing?’ and I wanted to tell her I was at Kroger, but instead it came out ‘nafta,’ then ‘nips,’ then ‘nipples’ until finally I got it,” he said, explaining that he sent each of those words before getting the right one to his mom.

The autocorrect feature is not able to take the context of a message into consideration before changing a word, which often leads to sentences that do not make sense, like in Hepner’s case.

For junior Jeff Weckbach, the feature is not always the best when he is just trying to send a friendly message. He has had experiences when autocorrect mistakenly changes appropriate words to bad ones. “It’s like I’m cussing them out,” he said, when that was not his intent at all.

Other students are true fans of the feature, especially on the weekends. “It helps when I am hammered. My girlfriend never knew that I was drunk,” said sophomore Raymond Wisbey, who likes that autocorrect knows what he is trying to say.

Damn You Autocorrect! began as a website that Madison created after her own autocorrect misfortunes.

The book, inspired by the website, is just a compilation of the hundreds of autocorrect mishaps documented on Madison’s popular page.

“Damn You Autocorrect!” is supposed to be a mood-lifter, according to Madison, but hopes it also sends a message to readers. “‘Think before you send,’ you’ll be glad you did.”

Contributors: MCT Campus, Allegra Carpenter, Jeff Kleynenberg, Rachel Martin, John Minor, Tabitha Peyton, Zachary Rogers, Katelyn Snyder

Story by Claire Higgins

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
Is that what you meant to say?