Without a doubt, the introduction of the internet and the ensuing variety of social media networks has led to an exponential rise in new forms of written language, including blogs, tweets, Facebook postings, and LinkedIn profiles, to name a few. But how has social media altered the English language given that it is the internet’s most widely used language? There is no doubting that social media has significantly increased the number of individuals we can now contact with, as well as the frequency with which we can do so. This has caused us to be exposed to a wide range of various personalities, viewpoints, and communication styles when we utilize social media. The majority of content posted by the general public on social media is not edited, supervised, or verified to ensure that proper usage of the English language is taken into account, with the exception of social media experts and academic journalists. Trends are certain to emerge on social media since we are free to use the English language the way we like.
The use of preexisting vocabulary is one of the most noteworthy ways that social media has impacted the English language. In an online context, words that formerly had one meaning have come to mean something else, which subsequently carries over into verbal conversation. The phrase “wall” used in a social media context refers to the homepage of your social media profile, where you can disclose details of your life and work in a public forum, as opposed to the walls in your house or those outside on the street in years past.
In addition to stealing existing vocabulary, the internet has recently emerged as one of the factors influencing the English language and has given rise to a vast number of new terms and phrases. A few years ago, no one had ever heard of the terms “unfriend,” “selfie,” “fleek,” or “emoji,” but now we frequently hear them in conversation because of social media. Some of these expressions, such as “You Only Live Once (YOLO)”, “Craptacular”, and “Amazeballs” have even made it into the Oxford Dictionary. Another expression that has recently gained popularity on social media is the practice of identifying famous couples by blending their first names to create blend words, such as “Brangelina.” A wide variety of acronyms related to social media are used with these terms, including the extremely generally recognized “LOL” (Laughing Out Loud), “DM” (Direct Message), “FOMO” (Fear of Missing Out), and “TBT” (Throwback Thursday). It has never happened so quickly for new word to be introduced, adopted, soon overused, and then abandoned online. OMG, TXT, GR8, M8, and L8R are a few examples of words that are now regarded as “ancient” text speak on social media.
In a recent poll by Samsung of 2,000 parents, 86% of participants indicated they thought teens and young people used social media in a completely separate language. The study claims that there is currently a “seismic generational difference” in the use of contemporary informal language. The study was conducted by Professor John Sutherland, the foremost authority on English in the UK, at University College London. He asserts that the emergence of emojis could mark the beginning of the next stage in language and communication.