Speed Reads

Spell check

Colombians, tired of being called 'Columbians,' launch social media campaign to educate violators


For Paris Hilton, former presidents, and even P.F. Chang's, the correct spelling of Colombia (yes, the South American country) is a challenge. A common mistake is to replace the second "o" with a "u," spelling it the way one would when writing out the name of the university or the nation's capital. And frankly, Colombians are sick of it, so they're launching a new movement called "It's Colombia, NOT Columbia."

Tens of thousands of supporters are publicly shaming violators by trawling Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for the misspelling and posting about it with the hashtag #itscolombianotcolumbia. One of the campaign's creators, Carlos Pardo, told the Wall Street Journal that he just wants to educate people.

"We're not trying to insult the people or companies that make this mistake," Pardo said. "We don't say 'Hey, idiot, fix it!' We just say 'Dear so-and-so, it's Colombia, not Columbia.'"

The spelling error suggests to Colombians that you're insulting their country. Spelling the country's name correctly, Pardo and his followers hope, will encourage the world to realize that Colombia isn't a hotbed for cocaine and terrorism, but a beautiful place with a thriving economy. "We Colombians have a confidence about our country we didn't have before," said spelling activist Tatiana González.