Social Media Effects On Student Writing

In September I wrote a blog about Twitter’s influence on writing. In March, an article was published in the Texas A&M school news paper, The Battalion, that checked the belief that grammatical errors have increased because of social media outlets.

Texas A&M University Writing Center Executive Director Valeria Balester says it does not have an effect….”Any teachers who are assuming [errors] are increasing don’t have any evidence for that. It’s just anecdotal,” Balester said. Source: Facebook Affects Student Writing | The Battalion.

I still hold to my belief that writing style (not necessarily grammar) and communications in general have changed because of social media. The article goes on to say that kids today are schizophrenic writers (my term): they write one way in social media outlets and another way for formal papers/class assignments. That is interesting. Now I want to know how are they going to write at their jobs? Will they use the formal style or the informal?

The article also mentioned that one difference with writing today compared to 20 years ago is that students don’t care as much about making errors – either in the formal writing or social writing. That could be some of the difference I’ve noticed. The errors mentioned are grammatical like wrong word choice. They use spell check but they don’t use grammar check correctly or the grammar check isn’t smart enough to distinguish the plethora of homonyms in the English language.

The biggest difference I’ve noticed is the “dumbing down” of writing: smaller words and a shrinking vocabulary.