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Is Social Media Creating a Generational Language Gap?

June 25, 2019


There's little doubt in thinking the language used for social media websites isn't having a major impact on how the world communicates and how we modify languages for our day-to-day life. After all, the emergence of the internet exponentially increased the volume of new types of written messages like blogs, tweets, and posts. Not only has social media rhetoric had a drastic impact on what we say, it is rapidly changing how we say it. What makes this evolution even more interesting is the fact that social media is not edited, supervised or checked to ensure the proper use of any or even a single language.

Older adults (and especially parents) often feel that younger people are speaking an entirely different language online. Although there was no release of information about changes to any nation's formal language, informal language usage throughout social communities are creating a generational language gap. Moreover, it is no longer just letters and words that being used to communicate one's feelings, thoughts or emotions. Symbolic characters like emoji's are now being combined with words to relay more enhanced and personalized meanings. Nowadays, interacting with others is as fast as installing the most appropriate messaging apps to gain access to specific forums and platforms.

The online generational language gap may be causing the most rapid expansion of new words and new acronyms ever experienced, especially on a global level of usage. But, that's not to say that new terminology will survive as it is introduced. Once it is abused and overused, it can just as quickly disappear. For example, using the phrase OMG for "Oh My God" would certainly date you as that is no longer in vogue, but LOL for "Laughing Out Loud" has remained popular for decades. Nonetheless, it can be argued that all modern languages will be accelerated online, which will lead to a less formal version of the language that may be more expressive than the one we knew.

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