Many observers, users and pundits have argued that social media has killed writing, language and communication. I am here to argue for the other side; a side that believes people communicate and write now more than ever thanks to social media.
It’s hard to argue about the level and quality of language used within social media as we don’t know the level of language competency people implement in their daily lives in the offline world.
The only point I want to share is that every era writes in their colloquial language – have you ever read text from the medieval times or the antebellum period?
Writing has not been every generation’s cup of tea. Currently, we live in an incredibly expressive world, whether you like the means of expression or not. In one way or another, everyone is expressing themselves through writing a status update, comment, tweet or a blog post. I believe social media has changed writing from being a forced academic activity, to a voluntary choice and leisure activity.
Is it just what we are writing and communicating that is displeasing people?
I understand the great majority of words being published throughout social media is insignificant but you could make that argument for many primary sources that we use today to understand the past, i.e. Magdelena and Balthasar, a staple in history curriculums that is a series of letters between a merchant husband and his wife in the 16th century.
Even if 90% of social media chatter is useless diatribes about one’s life, the remaining 10% (which is huge when you think of the amount of information disseminated) should still be deemed useful, readable and possibly even compelling. And you never know, 300 to 400 years from now, history students might be studying Kanye West’s tweets to learn about the 21st century. Fingers crossed.