Social network sites have changed the styles and techniques of writing for instance; texting involves use of abbreviations or many different techniques of crafting short messages and use of self-devised short hand techniques of instant messaging.
Social network sites or technologies such as chartrooms or texting procedures do not require a stipulated format or standard of writing. The problem requires urgent rectification and personal action since most users are aware of the effects on formal written English, but ignorantly continue to promote the use. The practice is very pervasive, therefore there is a general regard of the practice as a register emergent language or form of writing having its own styles are rights. The blame often falls upon the proliferation of portable technology and internet real-time communication such as instant messaging (IM) or the chartrooms. This paper forms an argument that the informal style of communication is causing disappearance of the formal English and therefore people ought to reconsider the excessive usage outside of academia. Currently, the most effected group are the youth who are highly involved in the social form of interaction. According to Crystal (p 18), the informal styles have two major ill effects namely, spelling degradation and corruption of formal English language. Globally, there are concerns of the informal styles creeping into the academically registered languages.
In line with Lenhart et al (p 1), most United States youth admit that various aspects of social writing are today part of their academic writing. Students either are not able to avoid informal techniques in their formal and appropriate styles of writing for the diverse academic context, or are not aware of the unofficial text appearances in their formal writings. Various research reports indicate that students are aware of the effects of the slang and formulated short-hand form of communication on the academic skills and formal writing, but in most instances, they are often not aware that they have used the informal styles in the academic writing (Hyland, p 48). To these students, the style seems formal because of being accustomed to its use. The informal styles of writing such as chartroom slangs and short cuts for messaging are perfect styles of building rapport, finding unique identity and enhancing social lives, but are definitely ruin effectiveness of worldwide academic writing. The constant uses of the slang, short-cuts styles of texting and informal languages during writing and discussions, causes one to become accustomed to the approach and it is very hard to eliminate the style even when the situation demands for formality. Many people today face difficulties of constructing a perfect error-free and formal job application cover letter, essay or a research paper because of the same reasons (Hyland, p 48). There is evident punctuation or grammar mistakes in academic writing that are characteristic to the informal styles of communication.
On a positive note, today social setting requires teachers to take initiative of using the blogs to guide students informally and contrary, they have to guide them in academic writing as well. If most people are today not able to tell the difference between lingo of chartrooms or short cuts of short messages and requirements of academic writing, then the situation poses bigger concerns. Other than highlighting importance on teachers and parent to emphasize need for formality among children and the youth, there is need to accept the negative effects that the informal style have in most of our day-to-day lives, especially on official and academic matters (Hyland, p 50). It is almost certain that the issue of text messaging, emailing, online chatting and correspondence exchanges through social sites have overcome the traditional formal styles of exchanging written mails. It is the new global technological style of digital communication embraced as the current and common style of communication.
Research indicates that informal writing is more widespread among American youths compared to the formal style of writing (O’Connor, p 2). The instant messaging caused by the digital communication such as the Internet is a real-time style that is not easily replaceable for example the short-text form of instant communication via mobile phones is part of every average person’s daily life due to efficiency. The effectiveness is however transforming to negative effects on the command of formal spoken or written English language. According to O’Connor (p 2), there are mixed reactions from research finding over the effects of Instant messaging and the technological effect is a major topic of debate. The informal style of communication reduces communication difficulties associated with distance, time and money. Although there is support of instant and quick style of delivering messages, the formal level of communication lacks required support. The increases use of the style is a clear indication that the youth and children in the current as well as future generations grow and develop the informal styles as natural forms of communication.
The socialization skills that past generations had are generally very different from the contemporary one since the past had a close link to formality. All these are supporting evidences indicating the effects of the current communication protocol, but the debate does not change the situation. There is need for individual efforts or reactions towards change of current use of slang or other informal styles of communication and need to influence positive perception over introduction of formality on the current modes of social interaction among children as well as the youth. It all depends on how one would interpret the informal form of communication. Is it a breakdown or an evolution of the formal written English language? Is it possible to capitalize on the slang usage to enhance traditional learning? Most scholars and those who understand the importance of formality will agree that inexcusable abbreviations, grammar mistakes and poor punctuations in academic texts differ depending on writer’s origin. This means that the short cut and slang also differ from one region or social group to another globally. It is very hard to make such adoption of language common, defend it as cultural growth, and most importantly have common global understanding or usage of such informal styles of writing.
The slang forms of punctuations are arguably insults to the formal English and use of technology. It is the high time people stop pointing accusation fingers to the emergence of technology and embrace change in a right manner by incorporating and emphasizing on right form of written English, punctuations, abbreviations or short-hand writing that is also applicable in the academic platforms. English teachers are spending a lot of teaching time correcting internet writing and speaking such as use of ‘you ‘ and not ‘u’ and many other common short forms used informally.
For most young people differentiating between formal and informal is not possible because everything seem accurate and normal and thus the reason they will consequently write “I want 2 be an Eng Teacher b4 2012 like u” in a formal writing. Instinctive corrections in such cases fail and this becomes a societal responsibility to put across such wrong usage explicitly. If your child’s teacher requested you to assist in correcting the poorly written formal grammar, how would you explain the incorrectness of the slang your have been supporting all along?
Crystal, David. ‘Txting: The Gr8 Db8.’ Oxford: Oxford University Press.
2008. Print. Hyland, Ken. Teaching and Researching Writing. New York, NY: Longman, 2009. Print. Lenhart, Amanda, Rainie Lee, and Lewis Oliver.
Teenage life online: The rise of the instant-message generation and the Internet’s impact on friendships and family relationships. September 2009. Web. 5 December 2010. O’Connor, Amanda. Instant Messaging: Friend or Foe of Student Writing? March 2005. Web.
5 December 2010.