Besides changing the way we traditionally communicate (that is, by word of mouth and body language), social media platforms have also bred new and often times virulent forms of sign systems.
These online platforms and apps have altered the way we talk and write and engage with each other. Whether that’s for ill or good, only time can tell.
Social media platforms have created a sense of urgency in us to broadcast and announce anything from having a new set of false teeth to burying our pet dog. There doesn’t seem to be any dividing line between the personal and the public. And this spills over into conversations between family, friends, colleagues, and strangers. In fact, it seems everyone kind of knows everybody else now, regardless whether one is famous or unknown. As long as one has a social media account, one is bound to get to know someone and get known in return. It’s strange too that no one seems to be complaining against one person for sharing too much or too little. Those who share too little or hardly anything at all are mistaken for the dearly departed.
The overlapping of the personal and public, the official and the occulted, has led to an erosion of the idea of truth. Almost nobody questions anything on social media platforms these days, and everything they see there is taken as the real thing. Even so-called fact-checking platforms are highly suspect as well.
The integration of texting, messaging, and emailing, has spawned a monster-a confused and multi-tentacled communication medium that can make or break anything along its path. While the sense of urgency remains, authenticity has become elusive as memes, click baits and whatnot have rendered everything on social media provisional if not downright ridiculous.
This in turn has created a mongrelized language, something quite different from any other that we have had in the recent past. Words and common expressions are blended and battered any which way so that only the wifi-less can not understand what they mean and stand for.
Social media has allowed people to publish their stories, yes, but it has also opened the floodgates for insanity. Simply key in a word and you instantly get transported to all and sundry associations. Which makes you question whether the Internet has any use other than misleading its readers.
With writing more summarized (read short-cut and butchered) we can only wonder how we could get anything meaningful across in 25 to 30 words. This practice has resulted in shorter sentences and has made little grammar errors acceptable as well.
While many people argue that generally there is not a right or wrong way to communicate through language, we need to re-think this issue in the long term. No one is spared–we are all becoming engulfed in this fractured world of communication and technology. If this means we are transitioning into a brave new world with a new form of language, then we have got to be ready for its aftermath.