Texting, Social Networks, Grammar, Punctuation, and English Class
"Twitter," "Facebook," and Texting
Social networks and texting are great. It is nice to be able to chat with friends, and find new and old friends quickly and easily. Young or old, female or male, more and more people are becoming members of these social networks and texting every minute. It's easy to see the benefits of having a "Twitter" or "Facebook" account, and utilizing texts, but I want to point to a trend that has started, and is becoming worse and more visible https://essayhelpwriter.org/ each day.
A Downward Spiral
I am an English professor at a community college. When my students speak in class and write for me, I expect them to speak and write properly. That is, to speak and write in Standard English and use correct grammar. Yet, that is not what I usually get. It is one thing to hear my students shorten words in their speech or speak "slang," but when a formal essay is handed in to me and I see these errors, even after peer editing, I cringe. Instead of "you," I get "u." "Your" or "you're" becomes "ur" or "u r." After drudging through their essays I ask myself, "how is this so?"
This answer, I believe, is multifaceted. First, shortening words or phrases is easy. "LOL," means laugh out loud. "BRB", means be right back. "TTYL," means talk to you later. How do I know these? Well, I have been guilty of using them too; only in text messages, though. Why would my students want to send long phrases or longer words in a text, or post them on a "Facebook" or "Twitter" page when they can shorten them, thus saving them valuable time? The quicker they can get them to their friends – who anxiously await a response or post – the better.
Secondly, my students have fallen into a technologically induced trance. They become so used to this form of speaking and writing – I use writing loosely here when it comes to their texts and posts – that it then translates into their chats with me, and much worse, into their written assignments that I receive. I am not surprised, though. I can guess that my students send at least 10 texts a day; some send 10 in the hour that they spend in my class. I wouldn't be surprised if students are on "Facebook" or "Twitter" updating their statuses while I have my backed turned. As their texts and posts become shorter, so do their words and sentences in their speech and writing. It is scary to think that they don't even think twice to hand in a paper that has 5-10 grammatical errors that could have easily been fixed.
Let us not forget that with poor grammar, usually comes poor punctuation. In text messages or on a social network, punctuation means nothing. People don't think twice to leave a period out or a comma, question mark or exclamation point. We assume that others will understand our feelings and messages. It is too hard for us to push alt and a punctuation mark on our phones. Plus, the less characters we use in our texts, the more texts we can send in that particular month, right? These social networks and text messaging allow us to do what we want with our writing. There is no grammar check or spell check; there are no professors there to tell us to check our work. This is a trend that is causing decay in my classroom, and probably some of your classrooms.
My main concern is for my students who just don't get it and for the ones who I tell over and over to speak properly, and to clean up the grammar errors. My pen is running out of red ink; my mind is becoming numb. What many don't realize is the importance of strong grammar. If your resume is full of "u's" and "LOLs," the professional on the other end is going to be the only one laughing out loud, at you. I fear that my students will only mask their inconsistencies and errors in class, only to turn around and go back to their "normal" tongue as they walk out of my classroom.
When they get that interview and open their mouths, will they remember my comments that they skimmed over and speak in perfect English? I want my students to understand, no matter what walk of life you are from, there is a proper way to speak and an improper way. Sometimes that first sentence out of your mouth may be all it takes for an interviewer to make up their mind about hiring you. A first impression is like an introduction to an essay. If it is full of errors, who wants to read on?
Is There a Solution?
Yes, I am an English professor and it is my job to strengthen my students' speaking and writing skills. But what I see in the classroom isn't always what they practice outside the classroom. Their cell phones and social networks are precious pieces of their lives; they keep them occupied and connected. I can only see this problem becoming worse, and I fear that no teacher can really control it. Educators can only hope that the knowledge they share will rise to the surface when a student needs it most.