Writing; almost everyone writes about something. Most people write about their day on Facebook or Twitter, but do we really know what we’re saying? Does social media effect how we view writing or the meaning of words? I tend to think so. YouTube shaped how movies and music functions, so it’s natural to assume that social media platforms have affected our writing.
Why do I believe this? I believe this because of how we’re currently communicating. Luckily, we’ve mostly outgrown the “text speak” with the ridiculous shorthand, thanks to the full keyboard options, but what else could be affecting our relationship with words? Most social media platforms allow “emoji’s” which are visuals to an action or expression. These fun methods of communication are fantastic in theory, but for someone like me who spends most of the day in a professional setting, I’ve found it interesting to navigate.
I work in an office setting. I’m constantly sending emails that need to be clear and concise without shorthand anywhere in the email. Have I accidently sent an email to executive with an “emoji”? Yes. Have I written something in shorthand to cut some corners? Yes. Despite our involvement with social media and having it mostly written in words, there’s still a huge impact on how it affects the way we see it. We’re not posting photos and writing our captions with elaborate captions, they’ll most likely be simple or inspirational.
Don’t get me wrong, social media is a great tool, but a tool, not a means of entertainment. Networking to find like-minded people for sales, advertising, friends and family that live far away, or validation to feel more confident about an endeavor. I’ve known many people that use it as entertainment, I personally don’t. I find it unamusing.
How has social media damaged our communication? The idea of writing as we speak was largely ignored as the great authors and poets of the past were prolific and eloquent when they wrote, but there’s something about the simplicity of writing as we speak. It’s more relatable. This style has, unfortunately, affected spelling and grammar. Though the studies are limited, there have been some conclusions that it might have to do with social media and texting. There are more people out there that don’t understand formal writing or grammar like they should, that’s to the shorthand we’re forced to employ.
I will point out what social media has done, positively. It has encouraged people to write more. In the same study that argued the bane of social media, it also mentioned that it can improve your writing skills to some extent. Today is an interesting era with these platforms and phones including spell check. If you have a hard time spelling through physical writing, social media gives you a second chance.
The unmistakable problem that I believe is being overlooked; the lack of formal writing skills. Whether or not social media is to blame is up for debate, that which I feel like it’s a factor; I also don’t really believe it’s the culprit. Could the impression of technology becoming an extension of human existence be the issue? We’re always glued to some piece of technology, even me, so it’s easy to see how adopting the use of the “superior” form of communication can be beneficial. I argue that having a phone glued to your hand and smart watch on your wrist, might be contributing the overwhelming cases of people saying their insecure or depressed.
I know, this is sounding more like an argument about social media. There is a huge issue with social media, and I feel like depression, insecurity, and writing skills are all inclusive. I’m a writer, does that mean I’m depressed or insecure, no. Am I depressed or insecure, sometimes. My need for writing has more to do with the fact of feeling fairly ignored or constantly interrupted throughout my life. I would write my thoughts and that was that. They can read at their will and I don’t have to feel bad because my thoughts are already explained on the page. Have I suffered from depression? For a very long time now. Writing is one of the outlets that I’ve used consistently since I was seven or eight years old. IN fact, my writing started out with essays and research pieces and creative writing didn’t make its debut in my imagination until I was thrown in the clutches of the fantasy books in the library when I was ten.
The point I’m trying to make is that writing has changed dramatically. They way we communicate has changed dramatically. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, unless we stop paying attention.