Facebook and Twitter as dens of bad grammar? Social media can actually have positive effects on student writing
Idk if u hav noticed, but the writing seen on the internet and social media is not always the best example of the King’s English. However, habits built through writing on social media don’t all have to be bad—and in many ways, can help improve writing.
Aiming to save character space or time typing, proper grammar and spelling are often jettisoned in favor of commonly used acronyms and incomplete sentences which have become ingrained in the habits of the internet community at large.
However, there are several positive ways that consistent writing on social media can translate to better writing in the classroom. Of course, students would be wise to leave their incomplete sentences on Facebook and their acronyms on Twitter, or just eliminate those practices all together. Still, for a student who uses social media regularly, there are some great benefits that can positively impact their writing.
(Next page: 5 ways that social media use can help writing in the classroom)
1. Prolific counts
Even though it may not be academic writing, since students who text and use social media often to engage in the act of writing regularly is positive, which sets up the basis for the rest of the items on this list.
Apparently, society as a whole is not only in the most literate in history, but writing is overtaking speech as the most common form of human interaction.
Coupling those trends with the fact the average college student spends over 16 hours per week on social networking, which amounts to nearly 5 hours more than time spent on academic and recreational reading combined, it is clear to see just how influential social media has become.
Luckily, this means that the average student is getting used to writing more often.
2. It builds confidence
One of the main benefits of writing on social media is that it helps students to develop their own voice within their work, as they often write authoritatively about subjects in which they feel passionate about—amounting to a significant boost in confidence.
Additionally, posts where students share their feelings display a good deal of self-reflection, and even display what appears to be a major step forward in collective emotional honesty.
This boost in confidence truly does make a difference, as 60 percent of students who blog or have a social network profile “claim to be ‘good’ or ‘very good’ writers, compared to only 47 percent of those who don’t use online formats.” This can be instrumental in students trying new things with their writing, which can make the difference in turning something good into something great.
3. Efficiency=editing skills
Character limits on a network like Twitter help students develop a writing style that focuses on keeping things short; making the social media platform a tool for keeping sentences or paragraphs to the bare essentials while still clearly getting a point across.
By going back and cutting out unneeded pronouns or words, whether from tweets or from papers, students engage in more self-editing than they may have previously, and it is generally held belief that the more writing has been churned over, the better it will be.
4. Writing for an audience
One of the major skills needed to become digitally literate in today’s world is by knowing how to write for your audience. When students post something on a social media profile, they know it is going to be viewed by their peers, or even other people beyond that.
By being more contentious habitually, students often put more thought into word choice, subject choice, and are adept at communicating online with peers and readers.
5. Feedback comes naturally
Through social media, students today have the unique capability of being able to share their writing with the world instantly; meaning that students can receive almost instantaneous feedback on what they produce. Having others evaluate writing is one of the best ways to improve, and students today have unprecedented access to that resource.
Ron Bethke is an editorial intern with eCampusNews