How Social Media is Affecting the Way We Write
The way we behave and act greatly influences social media, but can social media influence the way we behave and act?
More specifically, how are social media channels like Twitter influencing the way we write?
For example, hashtags were originally meant for narrowing Twitter searches to make tweets more easily searchable. Now we hashtag everything from Facebook posts to handwritten notes.
Some believe these effects are burdensome by replacing normal grammar and syntax with abbreviations and jargon. By limiting “writers” to 140 characters, Twitter forces users to be short and concise, but also prevents these writers from fully and elegantly expounding upon their topic.
On one side of the coin we have the benefit of people just getting to the point, but on the flip side a craft that required dedication and determination is often reduced to purposeful misspellings when the “forced limitation” bleeds into non-social media writing. This doesn’t even mention our over-reliance on auto-spellcheck.
Many teachers and professors are frustrated that they have to teach students not to use “imma,” “u,” and “wanna” when writing papers.
Not all is doom and gloom however: if these still-emerging social media platforms are here to stay (and they surely are), then they should be embraced and functionally incorporated into our lives. In other words, use them as educational tools, literary platforms, and learning mechanisms.
The New York Public Library found one way to do this. They held a National Poetry Contest on Twitter in celebration of National Poetry Month. They encouraged aspiring poets to “submit three poetic Tweets about libraries, books, reading or New York City.”
In 2011, the University of Iowa’s Tippie School of Management offered a full scholarship to their MBA program to one student who wowed them in 140 characters or less.
Other positive uses of social media span from the world famous TED Talks to social media and YouTube for research and education, whether you want to know about human gene structure (or how to make the perfect scrambled eggs).
How social media sites like Twitter affect the way we write are neither wholly good nor wholly bad. As with most things, the issue has its pros and cons. How we choose to harness the benefits like the NYPL did is up to us.
That’s it for this blog. L8r.