/Is social media killing the English language?

Is social media killing the English language?

How too no if your an coconspirator.

You’re first clue… you didn’t no I were totilly useing spelling and grammatical errors right now.

Was that as painful for you as it was for me?

As I scroll through the feeds on Twitter and Facebook I am astounded at the misuse of your, you’re, know, no, to, too, there, and their.

The smarter phones become, those using them become more illiterate. I shudder to think what papers would look like without spellcheck, auto-correct, and auto-fill. I consider these convenient enablers of illiteracy.

Has our attention span become so short that the limit of 140 characters or less is sufficient to get our point across? Has it become socially acceptable to write in the slang in which we speak?

The answer I’ve come up with is this, maybe people were always this ignorant when it came to English, but the fact that it wasn’t electronically broadcast, only spoken, no one noticed; in our mind it was “know” and “no”.

The scene in restaurants of two people seated at table with phones in hand, heads down, and no human interaction between the two, other than the text message one just received, seems common place than the rare occasion where neither person at the table has a cellphone and the two are engaged in a great conversation with each other.

One of my favorite classes, ENG 101H, is because of the incredible conversations we have in class. We sit in a circle (sort of), we don’t always agree, but we engage in face-to-face contact, facial expressions are real and not emoticons, there is genuine laughter, not LOLs, and tone is apparent without the use of ALL CAPS.

This is so important.

How many fights have begun because the recipient of a text message read the message in a completely different tone than what the sender intended.

Or, how many statuses on Facebook have been interpreted as an attack, when the status had nothing to do with the offended individual. But somewhere along the line, the guilt of the meaning behind the status was just below the surface of the reader causing the inevitable war of misspelled, misused words to follow.

Jack Douglass, maker of YGS (Your Grammar Sucks), has a fantastic channel on YouTube where he points out how grammatically inept some that use social media are. It is very entertaining, yet troubling to witness some of the featured comments on his show.

Lynn Butterworth, 31, SC4 student, said, “Social media has affected human contact in good and bad ways. I personally use social media to keep in contact with friends and family who do not live close. It is good because they can see pictures and updates via social media. I have also seen it used in not so good ways, such as airing dirty laundry. You see a lot of people using social media while out, and during family time as well. It truly has changed the way people communicate and it seems most use it more than picking up the phone or meeting face-to-face.”

I have an easier time understanding the language in books from the 1800s than some of the things I read on Facebook/Twitter. That’s a problem” said Tayler Willis, 19.

Social media is convenient, especially for keeping long distance relationships connected, however, as Mark Twain said, “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” I would tweak the last half of that and say: “than to update one’s Facebook or Twitter account and remove all doubt.”


Jennifer Gibson

Staff Writer

Contact Jennifer at justjennee@gmail.com