There are both benefits and challenges to living in a world where writing can be distributed at the click of a button. The increasing desire for instant gratification sometimes results in a lower quality of writing. In addition, the boom in usage of sites such as Facebook and Twitter among children and young adults has changed the importance of grammar and clarity. However, there are instances in which technology can improve our writing and it is important not to overlook those.
First, we will look at the benefits. A positive aspect to being able to distribute one’s writing to hundreds, thousands and sometimes even millions of people, is that people who truly want to improve their writing are able to do so in different forums. For example, Facebook provides an excellent forum where users can write “Notes.” In these notes the author is able to tag the specific people who they want to reach, or they can just post it to everyone. If the author is attempting to debate a point, then they have the opportunity to create a grammatically correct and enriching argument. Only when something is grammatically correct will people take it seriously, so a sort of pressure is placed upon the author to write well. There are a plethora of other sites that enable people to practice their writing as well.Whether it is writing on a forum about a book or debating politics, it is very simple to go on a website and practice. In my opinion, the people using these forums are more inclined to write well because so many others are able to view what they have written. Especially because this world is so critical, there is a lot of pressure to appear intelligent in order to be respected by the general public.
The second benefit to living in such a digitalized age is that news can be distributed to the masses instantaneously. In addition to this point, readers can decide what news they want to have access to depending on their interests. There are many news sites that utilize Twitter and Facebook to get their news out there. Instead of having to take the time out of your day to watch news on the T.V. or read a newspaper, people can now get notifications on their phones. These news outlets still maintain writing as an important aspect of the world, but they use a more concise form of writing that gets the point across quickly. For example, a journalist would greatly benefit from the 140 characters that are available on Twitter. The point of a news article is to get the information to a reader as quickly as possible, without all of the fluff. Twitter is a perfect place to practice this, because it teaches someone how to rearrange their words in order to get their point across in the limited amount of characters that are able to be used. It makes the tweeter think, “How can I get this information across to my followers in the most clear and concise way?” This is exactly what a journalist would think when writing an article. On the other side of it, this is extremely beneficial to the reader, because it takes far less time than a T.V. or a newspaper.
Of course, there are challenges to keeping a high quality of writing and grammar alive in the digital age. Many people take the easy way out, and use shorthand in order to finish things quickly. Especially in younger generations, it is slightly scary that they do not have a very good grasp of how to write correctly on the Internet. They use spelling such as “plz” or “ttyl,” both of which have integrated themselves so much into the English language that it is disappointing. In reality, it does not take a long time to write a few extra letters to form the entire word. My mother is a teacher, and when I read papers that her sixth-graders have written, it is not a pretty sight. They use inappropriate Internet lingo that are not professional at all.
Right now there are still enough people who appreciate a high quality of writing and grammar, and who know that it is important to present an appropriate article or write legibly on the Internet. However, as more time passes, this might not be the case. If younger kids continue to think that it is OK to use words that do not even have any meaning, one day news articles might say something like this, “The rpblicn nat’l conv. wuz last wk.”