Slang and Social Media

Language is constantly changing and developing. There are many rules to abide by but there are also ambiguities such as slang. Just like language, slang is continuously growing, and with the rise of social media it has become even more pervasive. Social media makes it easier and quicker for people to communicate so it only makes sense that language follows suit.

For myself (and most people I know), internet slang began on MSN. There wasn’t much, but phrases like “brb”, “g2g”, or “ttyl” were used in everyday online conversation. Today, many of those abbreviations aren’t used anymore because social media has paved the way for new and improved slang. MSN only allowed a one-on-one form of communication. Social media allows you to talk to as many people as you want, allowing new words and sayings to spread more quickly.

The rise of twitter lead to a significant shift in terms of language. The limited characters available per tweet, and the development of the hashtag established new abbreviated slang and sayings. Famous hashtags such as #tbt, #mcm, and #sorrynotsorry, continue to thrive across all social media platforms. These different hashtags and even the term itself can be heard in everyday conversations. There are even new words being produced like the term “selfie”. This is the act of taking a photo of yourself and posting it on social media. The word “friend” which is traditionally a noun, is now more frequently used as a verb, i.e. to friend someone on Facebook. Language is constantly evolving, and with social media it’s happening at more rapid rate. Is this change in language a positive or negative thing?

I personally think that these new words and phrases are great. It’s very entertaining and it’s fun to participate in. There are many people who aren’t on board with all this new slang. It’s deemed as a “young people thing” and is not taken very seriously. However, I think that it is a form of originality and should be admired. We’re taught to think critically, but we’re also taught to be creative. Creativity spans across all aspects of work and life, so why not language?

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4 thoughts on “Slang and Social Media

  1. I wouldn’t categorize it as positive or negative but evolution. As you said, “Language is constantly evolving, and with social media it’s happening at more rapid rate…”

    Whether we like it or not, this is the future of communication. We will adapt, just as we adapted to sending email, instead of writing letters to our friends and family.

  2. There is definitely an increase in slang. I have a 16 year old sister and I can’t keep up with the slang she is using. However, I think slang has a place. It doesn’t permeate everywhere. In business, we are still, for the most part, going to use full sentences and proper grammar. I have yet to write a business email or a pitch letter that includes short form words.

  3. English has always been a mongrel, picking up words from other languages and making up new ones as technology advances. Slang is definitely fun to use. It only creates difficulties when it is used to exclude people. I work for an organization that stays away from acronyms for just that reason.

  4. I personally have mixed feelings on the use of slang. While I definitely agree that it is a creative outlet for people and certainly provides amusement (the things people have come up with and that have caught on are pretty amazing). On the other hand, I have a hard time with the fact that I feel like it’s sometimes used too often now. I’ve found myself [guilty of] saying LOL instead of laughing or OMG instead of oh my gosh and I can’t say I like that about myself. I have also found myself writing emails and all of a sudden using short forms instead of full words. In a professional manner and in a business sense, I don’t want that to be the language I use. When I truly think of it I don’t really want to be the person that uses short forms at all (maybe without even realizing it, I do see it as a “young people thing” – even though I would still consider myself quite young). While I don’t want to judge those that use short forms, I do find myself a little sad when I start seeing sentences go from “what are you up to?” to “wat r u up 2?”. It just seems lazy and a bit of a butcher to the English language. However, this could also be my age – right on the cusp of social media. Something I’ve grown up with, however, not something that I was raised with. I used MSN and often used short forms like “gtg” and “ttyl”, but at the age I’m at now, I don’t find myself using it near as often – maybe a “u” thrown in a text here or there.

    Although I think there is nothing wrong with using short forms – I feel like it should be perhaps (hopefully) used within social media and not outside of it. There is a time and place and I don’t feel that in a professional setting it the proper place to be using it (ex. email correspondence).

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