Whatevs. Totes adorbs. LOL. On fleek. It may sound like nonsense to some, but this is common social media slang among American high schoolers. While it is usually heard in conversation in the hallways and seen in Facebook statuses and text messages, teachers are claiming that this “social media” slang is slowly creeping into student’s writing.
Social media is consuming every aspect of these young people’s lives, even their education. CEO, Gavin Hammar writes about this language trend. He discusses the question of whether this “Internet speak” is the signal of the demise of proper language. As younger generations begin to care less and less about correct sentence structure and grammar, this attitude towards language will follow them into professional careers. Hammar explains that as these young adults communicate, they forget to draw a line between casual social media language and professional speech.
“To get a message across using Twitter for example, it must be concise and must conform to the tone used there, which includes abbreviations, acronyms and emoticons,” Hammar writes. “Unfortunately the lines between internet communication and business communication are being blurred, with millennials finding it difficult to switch between the two styles and identifying which one is appropriate and when.”
A more important question is whether the effects on our language are short-term or long-term. Hammar writes that he believes that as this language becomes more allowed in educational settings, it will leave a lasting impact on the future generations. The young adults that are in high school right now are being directly affected by social media slang. These are the same people that will become the next business professionals, politicians and leaders of our world.
“It will become less of a priority to educate younger generations in strict grammar usage, since the world will no longer expect it. People will struggle to express themselves in the boardroom where a formal tone is usually the standard,” Hammar writes. “It’s still now difficult to imagine senior executives using LOL and ROFL when signing a deal. It however, has its place. It helps when boarding a plane, a train, a pre-bed answer, or for simply-portrayed communication.”
So, what can we do to help prevent (or at least slow down the creeping) of social media slang? It is important that educators teach their students that social media slang has its place, but it is important to remember who the audience is. For example, when writing an academic essay, the student needs to use a professional tone of voice. Even more importantly, teachers need to remind their students that when using writing as a form of communication, you must remember that it is hard to convey tone or intention. How many times have you sent a text message to a friend and they misunderstood your message as something rude or angry? This is the perfect example of how easily someone can misinterpret written communication. Hammar writes extensively on this idea. In fact, he also says that is makes it even harder to interpret writing tone when social media slang is used.
“Remember, it’s always hard to read tone, intention and feeling behind communication, therefore it’s always good to start off formally, not using emoticons or manually typed smiley faces to begin with,” Hammar writes. “If you’re in a service industry, allow your client to begin with emoticons, smilies or even ‘LOL’. You cannot guarantee that your client, like the prime minister, will always understand even basic internet speak.”
Some students claim that their school isn’t doing enough to help them learn how to write an effective and professional essay. While most school systems are doing their absolute best to teach these young adults, there are other resources outside of school that could help improve writing and language. Resources for help with writing a paper can also be used.
Professional writing services can do more than just provide well-written essays and business documents. These services can help provide examples to how students should be writing their essays. For example, if a student ordered an essay about a topic they needed to write on, it would show them the way to organize their thoughts and effectively write about the topic.
It is important for students to learn how to properly write. This type of communication will follow them into all aspects of life no matter what their profession becomes.