There’s been a lot of discussion in academic and even pop culture circles about whether or not Twitter is dumbing down our language. Its 140 character restriction is often cited as encouraging “text speak” like changing you to u, leaving out punctuation and other grammar atrocities.
But this is the first time we’ve heard that Twitter might not only be eroding language, but it might be changing the personalities of those who use it, especially young girls.
The Plain English Campaign spoke to the Daily Mail about the ways that Twitter and Facebook affect our youth.
The two networks encourage the use of shorter, terser sentences – Twitter with its 140 character, outright limitation and Facebook’s softer encouragement of being short and sweet – which is changing the way children, especially young girls, speak.
The to-the-point, no-nonsense short sentences that youth use on these networks makes them appear more aggressive in their communication, even going so far as to make them appear rude and disrespectful.
Marie Clair of the Plain English Campaign explains:
“Those fast communication channels of Facebook, email and Twitter [that] they’ve grown up with mean they haven’t got as much time to deliberate and choose their words.
That’s perhaps why they come across as being more aggressive. It’s not intentional. Curtness tends to be short, sharp and to the point. But it’s a fine line between being curt or aggressive and being straightforward.”
She goes on to say that young girls experience this phenomenon more acutely than young boys, as girls communicate more often.
Text messages, tweets and Facebook status updates do indeed often lack the flowery prose and polite words that use to accompany letters and even phone calls a few years ago. Do you think this is making people more aggressive? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
(Angry girl image via Shutterstock)