Social Media: Helping or Hurting Writers?

By October 24, 2012New Media

Social media. Its everywhere we look. You and all your friends are using it on your phones and computers. Businesses cannot seem to survive without it. Its on the news.  Lets face it, whether or not you want to be a part of it, you are.

As a student in the New Media Studies graduate program here at DePaul University, the use of new media in our current day and age has been on my mind a lot lately. Its pretty clear that these platforms are helping our means of communication, and certainly in terms of marketing and management, but what about from a standpoint of writing and rhetoric?  Is constantly being exposed to social media mediums helping or hurting us as writers?

I have read reports arguing both sides. While some people say that engaging in things like Twitter forces our hand to write on a daily basis, others say it is ruining our capabilities of writing well. Sure we may be typing out 140 character sentences ten times an hour, but can this count as free-writing? Does content and creation not matter?

Personally, I think social media is doing us good. Think about it. People are choosing to write…to their friends, to strangers, to themselves…all day every day. And sure, some people may have the habit of sticking to shorthand when dealing with online environments, but for the most part, my Facebook feed, Twitter timeline, Tumblr dashboard etc. are filled with legible, thought-out text.

With our youth becoming more and more reluctant to enter the world of writing, I say let them blog! Let them share quotes on Pinterest! At least it will open their eyes to the fact that using written language can be fun. And maybe eventually they will listen rather than chuckle when you suggest that academic writing too can be enjoyable.

So do I care what you had for breakfast? Nope. Do I want to know what bar you are going to later tonight and who will join you? Not really. But I am glad you are using your words.