Is Social Media Killing Writing?

If you’re reading this entry there’s a good chance you’ve gone to college of some sort. If you’ve gone to college of some sort you probably were required to take a writing course. If you didn’t you at least had high school english and history classes which required you to write.

Think back to some of the things they tried to instill in you. They wanted you to go in depth on topics. 1 page paper? ha try 10. They wanted you to stick to facts and analysis of said facts. Opinion? Occasionally at best. Your grammar, spelling and punctuation better have been on point.

Now think about some of the things we do in social media. Our blog entries are no longer then 400 words generally (aka a page) our tweets are by definition only 140 characters.  They’re frought with opinions if not completely opinion. Grammer, spelling and punctuation? It’s forced to be ignored by twitter and often ignored otherwise.

So I ask the question: is social media killing writing?

My thoughts are unfortunately a bit of a cop out: it’s killing it and improving it at the same time.

For one Social Media forces or at the very least encourages us to write more often; for someone like myself getting in the habit of writing daily is a very very good thing.

It’s also forcing us to be informative but in a concise manner. We start the conversation and then get more depth through comments and discussions. This is a good thing and arguably an improvement: I get your point up front and if I want to know more I can ask.

Opinion? Well, its useful and harmful. Its useful if you’re basing it on experiences and using it to predict future trends. When we ignore facts, research, and what we’ve learned from it that’s harmful.

Grammar however is the worst part of social media. Even in places where we should be doing better, like LinkedIn, I see it fraught with poor spelling, unnecessary all caps writing, I could go on. Now I’m probably the last one that should be writing this, but come on people we can do better.

I’ve really only scratched the surface based on my limited experiences and learnings so i’d love to hear other ways blogging is improving or killing writing.

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One Response to Is Social Media Killing Writing?

  1. Hey there : I agree with the thrust of your blog – it is a double edged sword. Why should this medium mean we forsake language proper. What I see happening is the evolution of an abbreviated 2 way dialogue, wher content seems to matter more than how you say what you say. I also feel that it’s diluted the process of writing, shifting the emphasis from cultivating creative skills to cultivating “hey notice me” skills. It’s like Mark Twain and Mahamud Ali ego’s let loose with none of their natural talent !

    I often picture all us poor bloggers thrusting our words into cyberspace, while half the world starves and writing that matters (often about the injustice and inequality), gets buried in the electronic ether of porn, ebusiness and gossip blogs.

    I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on this precious of linguistic and cultural issues.

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