Blog: 8 “The Young & The Digital” Ch.2: “Language Online” by Craig Watkins

Really good chapter, it touched the basics of Online Language. It begins, like most of our readings this semester, with history. We start with Email (1971) to Text Messages (1992) to My Space, Face book, and You Tube (2003, 2004, and 2005). In the reading Watkins talks about two dimensions to electronic communications; one being ‘synchronicity’ (are like instant messaging or computer conferencing) and Two is ‘dimension’ (like MUDs and MOOs).  With in the section Email, Watkins writes, “technology is now an indispensable part of modern work and play, love and war” “email [has] become the killer application for networked computers;” an interesting take on the topic of emails (pg 15).  In the last subject of this reading, Test Messaging Traffic, Watkins discusses multiple uses for a phone, from checking emails, weather, playing games, banking, playing music, and communication (via text message/calling). It has some interesting stats: in 2005 more than 1 trillion text messages were sent globally, and in 2006 Americans sent 158 billion text messages (which is nearly double from the previous year)! Crazy numbers if you ask me! Finally, my personal interest, Language on the Internet, a topic I find most interesting because of the growth and popularity of communication by electronic devices. The reading continues with the discussion of the “phenomenon of online language” (pg 28).  The Chapter concludes with saying that studies have no proof of people’s formal writing and speeches being influenced by shorten abbreviation, such as brb, ttyl, g2g, btw, and lol. Last Watkins asks, “If online and mobile language are not having sweeping effects upon everyday language, then what is the big deal” (pg 29).

The last section of the chapter is a topic I have very interested in. I was surprised to read that so far there hasn’t been a “sweeping effect” (pg 29). I have a fear that one day I’ll be reading news articles or professional documents that contain “btw” or “OMG” or even “lol!” I used to be a nanny for 2 children, I would help them with their homework and feed them dinner. One day I was re-reading one of the children’s papers. It looked like a giant text message, full of “w/,” “btw,” and a “:-)”; I nearly lost it! I try my hardest to write my text messages and quick emails, and even my Facebook post, with correct grammar and spelling. Now that I’m using Twitter I have found that I have to use abbreviations because of the limited amount of text per post. I think I am so cautious  because one day I may accidental type the shorthand version of a word or phrase into an important/professional paper.

I know that in class we talked belief about this subject after my Social Networking Tutorial. As studies have shown there is no need to be worried. yes a few will get addicted and wont be able to know when they should or should not used abbreviations, but over all people understand there is a time and place for everything. It seems that people are (A) smart enough to know when and where to use abbreviations and when not too, or (B) they have good teachers that have disciplined their students to know when it is acceptable to use “wtf,” “lol,” and “btw.”

Side Note: When I ran my blog through spell check it did NOT correct “brb” or “btw.”
What do you have to say about that? My point exactly!


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