Social Media vs Critical Thinking

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Social Networks and Instant Messaging Are Not Contributing To the Destruction Of The English Language

Instant messaging is not destroying the English language. It is in fact building the younger generation’s interest and ability to communicate efficiently with their peers. All should embrace social networks and instant messaging as useful tools that can be incorporated into ones daily life.

“Instant messaging language is characterized by a robust mix of features from both informal spoken registers and more formal written registers – in essence it is a hybrid language.” (Tagliamonte & Denis, 2008, p. 5)

There is a new wave of communication sweeping across Australia and the world. Generations are now typing, texting and tweeting their own unique language. This word abbreviated Morse Code like grammar sweeps from computer to phone on social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

“Written communication in instant messaging, text messaging, chat and other forms of electronic communication have generated a “new language” of abbreviations, acronyms, word combinations, and punctuation.” (Varnhagen et al., 2009, p. 1)

According to media sources participating on social networking sites and instant messaging is having a negative impact on the use of the English language. Most at risk according to these sources are our younger generations.

“Instant messaging, according to many, threatens youth literacy because it creates and compounds undesirable reading and writing habits and because it’s particular lowbrow vernacular damages students’ abilities to employ regular formal literary skills.” (Craig, 2003, p. 118)

Word abbreviation has not occurred due to social networking sites or because of the youth of today. The origin of shorthand or word abbreviation has been traced back as far the ancient Romans. Although unable to fully confirm this statement, the first documented shorthand writer is the Roman, Marcus Tullius Tiro form B.C. 63. (Haven, n.d.)

In 1819 Mr. Phineas Bailey complied a shorthand system based on using symbols for sounds called “Phonography”, this method is still widely used in today’s society and is the basis for Instant Messages. (Haven, n.d.)

We as a population should accept this newfound language that is weaving its way into our everyday lives via instant message and social networking sites. Previous generations feared and wrongly condemned “Rock and Roll” music simply because they did not like or understand the attraction. Just as they were ignorant in their views, to state that instant messaging is destroying the English language would prove our own lack of knowledge in language communication.

This is not simply a fad that will slowly cease to exit only to be spoken as Net Lingo in certain circles.

“In the past every medium from comic books to television has been pegged as the destroyer of language skill, and accordingly, all have received their share of lambasting and censure.” (Craig, 2003, p. 118)

Children and the youth of future generations are not suffering academically due this newfound skill for communication. They are, in fact inventing and exploring the English language and as a result actually learning more than their fore fathers into the use of grammar.

“ The phonetic slang of instant message leads to increased metalinguistic awareness and, therefore, tangible increases in overall literacy.” (Craig, 2003, p. 125)

By comparing the “launch dates for major Social Network sites” (Boyd & Ellison, 2007, p. 5) and the English subject results from students undertaking the Victorian Certificate of Education (Quppa, 2009) one can access whether students are lacking academically due to the use of instant messaging.

1998

- Six degrees.com has been active for one year

- Essendon Grammar School, 47 Students reach scores

between 40 – 50 and the school is ranked 8th in the state of Victoria.

- Dandenong High School, 2 Students reach scores between...
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