Social Media and the English Language

The English language is ever adapting to the slang of each generation, and ever more so as technology progresses. With new technology such as “smart phones” and “tablets”, people are sending messages, responding to emails and posting on social media sites on the go. Since this has aptly been deemed the “Now” generation, everything is considered to be needed now. Every piece of information must be downloaded or uploaded as fast as possible and reach the largest possible audience. It is no longer enough to just have friends on Facebook if you want to be anyone in the social media frenzy of today. You must also have acquaintances who follow you on every social media site out there, you must the most “likes” to get the recognition and more followers.

The language of the internet is all about who know, who knows you, and how many people you can get to do your bidding. The biggest change to the English language because of this need for speed online, is the new slang for the internet. Continue reading Social Media and the English Language

How the English Language and Social Media Affect One Another

One of the constants of modern life is the complaint that no one knows how to speak or write properly any longer. There are always people decrying the negative effect that modern technology has on language and gloomily predicting that in a few decades, we will live in a society of illiterates who can barely string two words together. What such gloomy prophecies ignore is the simple fact that language is always in a state of perpetual flux. It is not and cannot be fixed in place, unchanging and permanent. New technologies obviously affect how we speak and write, yet most of us are unaware that many of our own linguistic habits are equally the result of technological changes.

As more and more people spend time communicating through social media, these communication channels have obviously begun to affect how we speak and write. Ironically, despite the fears of growing illiteracy, more and more communication is being done through the written word. Being able to write clearly and understandably is a skill of great value in the era of the Internet. If you cannot communicate your meaning through the written word, you will have great trouble interacting online. The better a writer you are, the better you will do online.

However, many habits that made perfect sense in a world of fixed texts printed on paper do not make so much sense in a digital word where all texts are ephemeral. There is little reason to obsess over the minutiae of grammar or spelling when your message will be deleted within a few minutes. Instead, those who use social media tend to focus on speed and concision, so that the maximum amount of information can be communicated with the minimum number of characters. Worrying too much about when to use a comma will only prevent you from staying in touch with people using social media.