How Social Media Is Affecting the Way We Speak and Write

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Do you speak “social?” There is a lot of writing out there about the effects of social media on business, marketing, branding and customer services. But what about how social media communications is impacting our written communications, or even our oral communications? Anyone remember when email was going to destroy letter writing, and even the art of writing altogether? Well, it did destroy letter writing, but did it really destroy the art of writing, or just change it? The Impact of “Social Speak” on the Written Word

I’d argue that email, SMS and social media communications tools have made irreversible impacts on the way we write, but that is not to say we should write in that “social” manner. Sure, I’m tempted to use “l8r” and countless other SMS abbreviations to save time and space. Those of us who are well-versed in the “old ways” of communicating will likely switch back and forth, as appropriate. I’m wondering, however, about those who have come of age in the era of SMS and the social web. The social web has changed the written word in a couple of key ways: 1. Writing is more concise. When we first heard of Twitter and its 140 character limit, most of us wondered how in the world we could convey something meaningful in 25 to 30 words. Now we realize that Twitter pushes us to get to the essence of what we are trying to say. Who says you must have full sentences or paragraphs of text to make an impact or to drive people to action? 2. Use of different spelling and abbreviations. My husband came to me last night asking for help “translating” a text from his teenage daughter. “What does ‘TTYL’ stand for?” he asked. “Talk To You Later,” I replied. The strange thing was that I didn’t sense my own brain processing the translation. Instead, I immediately knew the answer in the same way I know that “casa” means “house” without having to do the mental computing to get from a foreign word to familiar one. People who are communicating via SMS or social networks aren’t...
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