Writers, writiN & d NXT gnr8n n social media :P

text slang, emojis

In their article “The Rhetoric of Reach: Preparing Students for Tech Comm in the Age of Social Media” Hurley and Hea asked college student to reflect on the extent that social media influences writers and writing. As a whole, students were able to identity social media’s positive aspects such as staying connected to family and friends and its ability to generate hype over new products. On the other hand, students also agreed that social media generally influences writers to write carelessly and unfinished.

While I was not an English major, I do have an appreciation for good writing. Seeing postings with no particular point that incorporate emojis and shorthand slang make me cringe. Despite this, I agree with the article in that a thoughtful and active presence on social media can be beneficial and bolster careers. However, it made me question what implications will this type of writing have on our younger generations who have grown up with these types of communications?  

Besides proper spelling and grammar, penmanship is a concern of mine. I distinctly remember learning cursive in elementary school and laboring over a capital “Z” so I could write my crushes initials next to mine in the margins of my notebook. (For all of you who are wondering it would be SKJ + ZBS). While I eventually was able to master this skill and fill every space I could with our initials surrounded by a bubbly heart, it took time and perseverance.

Largely due to the excessive nature of my “doodling”, one of my friends told Zach and soon everybody in the class knew. To my disappointment, Zach did not share my feelings and that was the end of my third grade crush. While the love between us didn’t pan out, my love of cursive and penmanship did. My handwriting, (most of which is cursive) is something I pride myself on to this day. After a quick Google search, I discovered that many states are no longer are teaching cursive in elementary schools. While its not completely shocking, it is slightly disappointing to learn that good handwriting is no longer a vital form of commutation.

At the same time, I wouldn’t say that computers and our use of social media are entirely to blame. I simply find it interesting how communication has progressed and the effects it has and will have on writers of future generations. The digital landscape is evolving, and if we want to survive we have to keep up– emojis, shrt& & aL 🙂

Posted on September 15, 2015, in Blogs, Social Media, Teaching, Technology and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Every time someone learns that I teach with and about social media, they ask me if I have seen a decline in students’ writing as a result of texting and the shorthand you mention. The answer is that no, I haven’t. My students are quite adept at switching genres, so their academic papers, perhaps not properly cited, are still made up of complete sentences and no abbreviations. Even their tweets are composed using complete words rather than abbreviations. I think knowing they are being graded on that writing helps but also the fact that it is public. Many of the readings in the blog literacy folder mention “learning in public” and “public writing,” and I see it as a positive thing because it gets students thinking about audience early and often in their undergraduate careers.

    I’ve not had a discussion with students about emojis though, so that might be something to research further. Perhaps we can add http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jcc4.12063/full to our reading list before Thanksgiving?

  2. How interesting that you often run into that question! While it does seems probable that this could be an issue, it also makes sense that students are able to separate the two spheres and transition to a more academic tone. Additionally, I would agree with you in that writing for a public audience largely influences this. No one likes to be embarrassed- especially in such a public sphere as the internet!

    The article on emojis as contextualization cues definitely could be a good read. Incorporating a visual symbol alongside text helps serve a purpose for clarifying how the message should be interpreted. I would be curious to hear what your students think about this topic.

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