Effects on English Language due to Internet Social Networking

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Internet social networking has taken over our lives. Users have a myriad of avenues to communicate between each other all around the world in real time.  Face to face communication is outdated! Nowadays, there are many websites such as Facebook and Twitter that allows people to share information and communicate with each other all day and all night. Social networking is now part of life, and the rapid success has been amazing but at what cost. Nowadays, because of all these websites, speed is the issue, new language is created and education is ignored. Social networking is a major social issue in the world today that highlights the drastic effect on English language.

 First of all, people now have no time to go into details when writing an online message. The shorter the message can be written the better. Twitter, as a present day on-line social networking example, which sends and receives messages from an assortment of devices simultaneously at the moment the message is sent, introduced the concept of micro messaging where the user just comments on what is happening in the now. Here, introduces users to the concept of summarizing messages and statements giving instant gratification through their minimalization of sentences and vocabulary. Social networking is about short instant messages. Twitter actually has a maximum of 140 characters per instant message. Instant messages and on-line chat users are now dumming down their thought, telling little snippets of their life without the need to produce long sentences.

Furthermore, the fast pace of information sent and received around the world, and the instant gratification for users telling their friends of their interesting ongoing action, highlights the change and creation of new language. For example, if a new networking user was to receive a message telling them that the sender was ‘Getting MWI’ they would be flummoxed to get to the meaning. The receiver would already notice that the sender has broken many rules of English. The grammar is wrong while there is no subject, so the receiver does not know who is doing the action. They have to presume it is the sender. Also, the sender uses the acronym MWI which is certainly not easily recognized and where is the punctuation? The sentence actually deciphers as ‘I am getting mad with it’ which although is now presented in a more rule based proper manner still can be misunderstood. “Getting mad with it’ actually means getting drunk.  Moreover, conversations in social networking groups are enhanced because users are savvy with each other. Just as an engineer would not understand a doctor, and visa versa, if they started to use their own technical language, online users have their own language. There are secret groups who use new language to be inventive, to be cool or to hide the meaning of their message from others. For example, an overbearing parent may be wary about their child and tries to check up what they are talking about on the internet. If that parent was to discover their child’s chat conversation, they would find it hard to unravel some of the meaning if it is littered with bizarre wording, incomplete sentences and acronyms such as ‘PAW’ for ‘parents are watching’.  There is certainly an extreme change from the normal everyday language people use.

Finally, with the excess of instant messaging and chat talk, problems have become prominent in written forms in education. For example, acronyms and shortened words are being used as the norm as well as other mistakes in formal school and college assignments. Informal language used in these assignments, is preferred where words like ‘dat’ is used instead of ‘that’ and ‘cuz’ instead of ‘because’. There are also punctuation, capitalization and apostrophe errors. In addition, Monique Lawson, a secondary teacher in England commented that youngsters spend too much time on social networking sites, adding that “young people physically spend too much time on these social networking sites, so are not giving enough attention to their schoolwork.” Evidence also suggests that students are ignoring language propriety, in a recent online survey poll conducted with 500 UK teachers by One Poll, 58% said that spelling was suffering. Also, two thirds said children were rushing their homework which ended in them doing it badly, only so they could chat online. In many respects, students are starting to not see the difference between formal and informal situations.

In conclusion, social networking is meant to be beneficial for human beings, but if there are negative effects on people and education it needs to be looked at. Communication is about talking to all levels of society and writing for any purpose. The only way to prevent the stripping down of English language is by educating social networking users to separate online chat from real life, so they can excel at both avenues of communication.


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