Impact on Language blog post #5

Gabrielle McGarry

Jour 4270
March 29, 2017


Social Media Impact on Language


Social media has, undoubtedly, changed a lot of aspects of our lives.  It’s changed the way we spend our time, interact with one another and the way we view ourselves.  One thing that it’s drastically changed is the words we use everyday.  Social media has changed the way we communicate by changing our very own words.

The way we communicate informality via social media is beginning to transfer to the way we communicate in person.  We’re becoming more informal when we speak because it’s the way we type.  We hear people saying LOL (laughing out loud), BRB (be right back), OMG (oh my gosh) and various other acronyms in real life.  It’s not just on our screens anymore, it’s spilling out of our very mouths!  They may help us speed up a real-time typed conversation, but how much quicker do we say “BRB” than “be right back?”  Does it really save that much time? No, we just do it subconsciously!  Apps like Twitter that only allow a certain number of characters per post encourage us to use acronyms, shorter words and less punctuation.  We’re so used to using this shorter way of speaking that we are using it in our face-to-face conversations.

Social media has also changed the meaning of words.  Facebook has done more than most platforms when it comes to new meanings.  Words like friend, like, status, wall, page and profile hold completely different definitions than they did pre-social media era.  It’s easier more now than ever to contribute to the evolution of language thanks to social media.

For example, in 2013, Oxford English Dictionary declared “selfie” to be their Word of the Year.  Even though it’s not even in the Oxford English Dictionary, it was still named Word of the Year.  The term origins came from social media sites like Flickr and Myspace, but now it’s a term that we all know.  It’s no shocker that social media changes our day-to-day interactions, but did we ever consider that it’s also changing the way we verbally communicate?  For better or for worse, we’re transitioning into an informal way of speaking and it could all be because of our apps.

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism