I find myself getting into arguments on the internet lately, taking a side that, at one time, I didn't think I'd ever take: that of defending some of the most irritating habits of colloquial speech. If you spend any time reading and contributing to online discussions, you know the kind of argument I mean. Somebody says something like, "My sister has issues," and then some self-appointed savior of the language swoops in to inform the OP (original poster, for those of you who don't engage in these kinds of discussions) that their sister has problems, not issues, and that they hate it when people confuse the two. (And then there are those who will object to my using the plural possessive to refer to a singular antecedent in the previous sentence, whom I respectfully invite to suck it.)
No, I don't especially like lazy and imprecise usage--but I dislike sanctimony even more, especially when it is in the service of a pointless losing battle like the one waged daily against the forces of linguistic invention. The fact is, "issues" is now a synonym for "problems," and if the world needs a new word to claim the territory that "issues" is now spread too thin to cover, then such a word will soon spring into being. Your OED may not be fond of one's sister's issues, but soon it will be, because, as any lexicographer will tell you, the rules of language are constantly in flux, and innovation is constantly ongoing. Mistakes turn into habits turn into scripture, more quickly now than ever before.
I'm a teacher of writing, though, and I can't help but be annoyed when I encounter, even among my grad students (you know who you are!), fundamental problems ("issues," if you will) with verb tenses, point of view, subject-verb agreement, and syntactic ambiguity (the unintentional and distracting variety, that is). They should know better. But really, it's hard to blame them--the writer has to inhabit two minds at once: the one that adores the colloquial, with all its beautiful awkwardness and random innovation, and the one that values clarity and brevity above all else.
For my part, I fall more into the colloquial-enjoyment camp with every passing year. Indeed, the main reason I love the internet so much is the enormous variety of written voices--freed from the rules of grammar and usage (not to mention definitive personal identity), internet writers are wildly expressive and distinctive, as much through their flaws as communicators as through any intentional gambit.
Where do you stand on this issue? (Not, I'm sure you'll agree, "problem".)