The way we communicate changes just as much as fashion trends do, they come and go. Therefore, why exactly are we upset and surprised that our younger generation has transitioned into using phrases and abbreviations as a way of communicating, as they do with text messaging or Twitter? None of this is surprising, as many feel that Twitter is on a mission to annihilate our English language, or at least leave it wounded and broken.
The Creation of a Monster
Twitter was created in 2006 and connects users by letting them send their thoughts through a “tweet”. Twitter’s tag line is “The best way to discover what’s new in your world.” How could anyone have an issue with that? Well, the issue most people have with Twitter is how their “tweeters” wouldn’t know proper sentence structure and grammar if it bit them. However, there are arguments for both sides, as proponents of Twitter will emphasize that there is only so far you can go with proper English when you are limited to only 140 characters.
Will today’s youth recognize the difference?
Because Twitter-speak is packed with words and abbreviations that a typical dictionary would consider “misspelled”, many wonder if Twitter is robbing people of their full literacy potential. Will today’s graduate be equipped with a desire to write in complete sentences? For opponents of this type of communication, a tweet represents nothing more than incompetence and/or laziness. And these opponents can be found everywhere. They might even be a coworker or a boss, who used a background check service to peek at your Twitter profile. While “Twitter-speak” might not get people fired, it can certainly lead to unflattering opinions or comments at the slightest mistake. For many opponents, the biggest concern is that we may soon have an entire generation that does not know the difference between Twitter language and standard, proper English.
The part that I find most humorous is something truly amazing. As I have done my research and come across hundreds of articles preaching of the negative impact Twitter has on our society, they all have one thing in common. They all seem to come with a “tweet” button which will allow you to instantly tweet about the article, most likely in English-killing “Twitter-speak”.
Is it just acceptable jargon?
Perhaps the opponents of Internet terminology just are not getting it. Maybe they do not understand that our language is ever-evolving and has been for thousands of years. It is a constantly occurring process that is highly necessary for each language. Language can be seen as a living entity, and must adapt to survive. This process applies to everything, including English grammar. If people have discovered that it is easier and more convenient to use shortened words and abbreviations to communicate, then that is exactly what they will do. The purpose of any language is to communicate, and the most effective and convenient manner will always win out. Ultimately, it will be our language and grammar that must adapt to Twitter, not the other way around.