I admit it—I’m addicted to Facebook. I haven’t joined the Twitter craze, but I think social networking sites are great. This is not to say they don’t also present me with a crisis of conscience. Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and other social media or networking sites have a significant impact on how people write online. Teens and pre-teens become accustomed to completely disregarding any rules of grammar or spelling while on these sites, and unfortunately they transfer over into other writing. Not only that, but the example set by the younger generation seems to be rubbing off on their parents’ generation with the older crowd adopting cyber rules for writing.
I too am guilty of breaking some rules of writing while on Facebook. These sites are a whole new arena for writing. However, I think it is important to remember to keep this relaxed writing style in its proper place among friends on networking sites. I sincerely hope that my Facebook “friend” (the friend of my friend’s little sister. It’s like six degrees of Kevin Bacon for Facebook friending) whose status is “oh my go dim so hungry yo hahahahahaha im seriously but to grub out mannn,” doesn’t write that way for her history papers. For my own peace of mind I’ll pretend that she doesn’t.
But this is a social networking site, emphasis on the “social.” High school and college students don’t always speak correctly when they’re with their friends. They never have and they probably never will. Why should a social website be any different with how these age groups write? So by all means, high school sophomore, college freshman or too cool for school senior, get your atrocious writing out of your system on Facebook or Twitter. Just keep it the heck away from everyone off-line.