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Is Twitter Ruining Our Writing Skills?

In a recent article, The Telegraph reflects on one Cambridge professor’s assertion that Twitter is causing students’ writing skills to “go down the plug hole.”

It’s not the first time the claim has been made that the brevity and fast pace of microblogging negatively impacts written expression.

But how much merit is there to it?

The Case Against Twitter: Tweeting is Corrupting Writing Skills

The argument against Twitter with regard to the issue of modern communication skills stands on the legs of tweets’ usage of abbreviations and jargon in place of correct grammar and syntax.

As the Telegraph piece reports, some English universities have even been forced to run remedial classes in English to try and bring new students to degree-level standard.

Mastery of prose is made more difficult by students’ daily absorption in a language of “lol”s and “c u soon”s.

The Case For Twitter: Social Media is its Own Developing Language

On the other hand, there is value in adapting to a modern society’s lexicon. If text messages, emails and tweets are the communication tools of today, why not embrace them as teaching mechanisms and infuse the lessons embedded in prose mastery into other educational arenas?

Many schools are doing so. In 2011, the University of Iowa’s Tippie School of Management even offered a full scholarship to their MBA program to one student who wowed them in 140 characters or less.

What if schools encouraged students to compose essays in blog post format? Or produced instructional lessons in YouTube video format? In addition, encouraging deep reading can develop writing skills in and of itself – and when, if not now, has there ever been more reading material in society?

Managed correctly, social media channels can be a great boon for students.

Check out this infographic for productive ways in which many schools are using social media.

What do you think about the impact of Twitter and other social media networks on education?

(Homework image from Shutterstock)

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