Social Media as a Language

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Social media has the world in its grasp. Facebook, Twitter and even Google’s new Google+ have all stamped their names upon the word’s computer screens, smart phones, ipads, and tablets. For the majority of the population these websites provide an easy way to reach out and keep in touch with their friends and family. Because we allocate so much time to these websites, we have begun casually implementing the abridged lingo in general conversation. It all began with texting- abbreviations such as lol (laugh out loud) or brb (be right back) began infiltrating everyday conversation.  Facebook seems to be reinforcing these abbreviations and grammatical errors.

Everyday use has made use of this slang appropriate in casual conversation, but I still do not feel they are appropriate in more formal situations. For example, I cannot think of any student who would think it was appropriate to write 2night or btw (by the way) in a formal paper or even in a classroom. So what makes it appropriate for social media? It would make sense if texting was still a bit of a process like it was ten years ago, but today it is simple. It would not even take me an extra second to write got to go instead of gtg. Neither is it because Facebook is a time to relax with friends; Facebook is littered with businesses – bosses are friends. People we would never address in slang terms suddenly fall to the level of buddies. So why do we let our language devolve the second we see that iconic blue and white logo? Personally I hope that particular vernacular remains inappropriate for formal and scholarly settings. I have no desire to even look at a book that reads like a list of status updates.

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2 Responses to Social Media as a Language

  1. Rod Smith says:

    I’ve long been fascinated with the acceptance of “OK,” which was being used as a term of agreement, even without the four-letter spelling, before the Earps and Holiday strolled toward the corral looking for trouble. My American Heritage Dictionary tells me it’s short for “oll korrect,” which was at some point slang for “all correct” (go figure). Pete Seeger said it was from Choctaw, and others claim it’s from a Greek phrase meaning “all good” (prophetic?). When I was a kid, I didn’t much hear older folks say it, but it was on my grandmother’s roadside stand sign. It meant “okra.” The lingua franca is slippery as a can of worms.

  2. Caitlin Doyle says:

    At least the people who don’t recognize the value of a professional writing style provide some quality entertainment:

    http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/informal-email-fail

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