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A lot can be said about the growth of social media. Some people discourage the use of it, while others believe it to be a revolutionary agent that we can benefit from when used correctly. However, there’s no denying that we live in an age of digital citizenship, which opens the door for boundless learning, creation, and communication. Language, in particular, can very much be influenced by the birth of various trends in social media. Here are the most prominent ways in which social media has changed the English language, especially in recent years.
Develops Internet Slang
Language changes simply because the needs of its speakers change. With the rise of social media, people also require new words to communicate in a way that’s more suited to modern times. So with the arrival of various social media sites, abbreviations like LOL, TTYL, and OMG were also created. And while some people argue that not talking in complete sentences can decrease one’s IQ, several studies actually show that people who are fond of internet slang and abbreviations score just as well on spelling tests, formal essays, and other measures of literacy. Through internet slang, we are all able to further understand each other and communicate better.
The many social platforms available to us today actually encourage the creative use of the English language. For one, each platform has its own niche and a user base that relies on the platform’s unique features. Recently, news organizations began adding status messages when sharing news articles on Facebook, making them more interpersonal. Twitter also began the whole hashtag trend, which pushed a lot of organizations to be more witty and clever with creating campaigns. Moreover, writers are encouraged to be more succinct and persuasive because of Twitter’s creative constraints of 280 characters.
Creates New Job Opportunities
Digital journalism is essentially a contemporary form of journalism where content is distributed through various social media channels, as opposed to traditional print and broadcast. And although online news and content has existed since the 90’s, digital journalism has created so many job opportunities in recent years; from researchers, editors, fact-checkers, and many others. In fact, digital journalists on social media have now become indispensable as the fast dissemination of news has become integral in today’s society. This dissemination combined with social media’s accessibility calls for a more careful use of the English language for timely yet in-depth reporting.
Widens Educational Reach
Social media allows us to communicate with a much larger number of people on a global scale. That said, it’s also undeniable that it allows users to learn so much from each other. TikTok, for example, empowers teachers of all kinds by giving teachers a way to meet students in their zone. User “Iamthatenglishteacher”, for instance, began posting short-form grammar lessons to help her middle-school students recognize and learn from common mistakes. Now, her 1.5 million followers from all over the world are collectively learning through her.
Reinvents Existing Words
The re-appropriation of existing words is also a common phenomenon we’ve seen in recent years. Words such as “wig” and “legit” were pretty much given complete makeovers, with wig now a term used to describe a reaction to any amazing or shocking event, and legit now being used to describe any noun or event that is of particularly excellent quality. This reinvention is also a cultural process that first starts within small groups, and because of today’s connectivity, any buzzword soon spreads like wildfire. But it’s also what keeps English the rich, developing language it is today.
And with that, teachers may feel pressured by how fast-paced everything is on social media. But don’t underestimate your own capacity to keep learning — we’ll always be students of life, after all.
Article written by Ruth Johns
Exclusively for edvolve
I care deeply about helping educators cultivate healthy environments where every student and teacher can learn, grow, and thrive in this digital world!