Social media has had a very big impact on all of our lives in one way or another. People have even used these platforms to make millions of dollars, and that just shows the amount of attention it gets. Over 4.5 billion people around the world use the internet while the mark for social media users has just crossed 3.8 billion. And according to a recent stat, more than half of the population of the world will be using social media by the end of 2020.Moreover the impact has carried its way to the languages we speak and have impacted them. This article is all about that, Social Media and language that is
Social Media is everywhere we go. And nearly everyone we know is on it. It is something that has completely changed quite a lot of our daily lives. And one of the many effects it has had is on the way we use the language daily. Social Media has come up with quite a new way of conversing with each other. And many say that it is going to continue to have such influence on our daily use of language. This is not only impacting the English language but languages all around the world.
Which many people consider a bad thing while other just consider another part of evolution as a society. But, no one denies the its impact nonetheless which has braced nearly every language in the whole wide world. So without further ado lets dive into how Social media is effecting languages all around the world and look it into if it is something good or something to be worried about
Changing Existing Vocabulary
This is one of the biggest and the most noticeable ways in which social media has affected languages all around. Many of the words that had an already defined meaning have been given a different meaning in the online context. A few of the words that have changed meaning due to social media are
This was a word previously used as a verb for circulating or moving around or a supernatural ( frictional )creature with large ears, a foul smell. And who lives under the bridges on the outer parts of town
But now it’s used for, someone who intentionally provokes others into an emotional tizzy or tries to get a heated response in various online forums or on social networks. And apparently gets off on it.
This was previously used to refer to the maximum amount of information that can be transmitted through a channel
But, now it’s used to represent the capacity of a person to handle tasks or issues, either actual or emotional.
It was previously known as an Internet search technology company and platform (noun).
But now it’s used as a word to search the internet for information (the verb “google,” lower-case). Sometimes, the nickname for a nerdy know-it-all.
It was previously known as a word to cite or make reference to (verb).
But now it’s used as a word to represent the acts of citing or referencing a brand or individual on social platforms; an indicator of how many advocates and fans your product or service or a person has (noun). More is better. Of course.
It was previously known as a function word to indicate presence or occurrence in, on, or near (preposition).
But, now it’s used as a word to represent the act of directing online communication toward a particular person or brand, particularly on Facebook or Twitter. In this way, “at” has risen to a surprising position—it’s kind of the Rebecca Black of prepositions.
It was previously known as a body of water with a current that’s confined within a bed.
But, now it’s used as a word to represent, a constantly flowing body of updates, photos, images, and other content on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
It was previously known as a verb which meant To extend, wave or float outward.
But, now it’s used as a word to represent a continuously transported, unedited data real-time—generally video or audio.
It was previously known as Compressed mystery meat snugly sheathed in tin housing.
But, now it’s used as a word to represent unsolicited messages sent via email or, more recently, strewn about like litter on social networking sites.
It was previously known as a word for a friend or date one brings along to an event or party.
But, now it’s used as a word for a new initiative that allows anyone searching Google to publicly validate web results they like. It’s a kind of digital shorthand for a thumbs-up.
It was previously known as a word that represented the act of reporting your presence with a desk officiant—generally at airports and hotels.
But, now it’s used as a an act of using any of several social location networks to tell everyone in your network where you are at every blessed moment of every single day, including churches, smoke shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, state parks, nursing homes, offices, dance halls, pizza shops, bakeries, dog groomers, train stops, bus stations, airports and so on and so forth, ad infinitum.
It was previously known as a verb to mean: To lurch, walk unsteadily, or misstep. My favorite bar in college was the Stumble Inn.
But, now it’s used as a word for: To discover, recommend, and rate Web pages, photos, and videos on the personal recommendation engine StumbleUpon.
Short-forms of a lot of words
There have been a lot of words out there that have been shortened for convenience’s sake on social media. And there are quite a lot them: Here is an example, “r u srs?” is a very common phrase that is used in whilst communicating which is a short form of ” Are you serious?” Nearly vowels of every words are removed to shorten them and make them more easy to type in the world of social media
A Generational Language Gap
Yes, this is exactly like it sounds like, this means that a lot of older people don’t understand the way young people/teenagers text ( txt ) nowadays. To elaborate, It was found in a recent study conducted by Samsung, which involved 2000 parents that 86% of participants said that they felt teens and young people spoke an entirely different language on social media. According to the study, there is now a ‘seismic generational gap’ regarding how modern informal language is being used. The study was carried out by Professor John Sutherland at University College London, who is the UK’s leading English expert. says
He claims that the rise of the emoji could be the next phase in language and communications.
Here is a link to the study if you want to dive a bit more into depth about the topic “Generational language gap ‘seismic‘
Emoji are different pictures, ideograms, and smileys used in electronic messages and web pages.
This could be of cartoonish characters and sometimes just plain out faces.
These are quite helpful in expressing emotions and speak a thousand words as they say. A lot of grown-ups don’t quite get what some of them mean as there are variations of the combos of these emojis that are referred to meaning a certain something like some of the following
Introduction of Brand New Vocabulary
Social Media has given birth to quite a few new words along its journey in the past decade or so. And there are quite a lot of words that didn’t exist before the introduction of Social Media and are rather quite commonly used. So, lets take a look into them
These are basically front-line pictures of your account on different social media platforms. This is mostly a real picture of the person who the account belongs. And can be anything ranging from a beautiful scenery to a cartoon to a real picture
This is basically a comparison of stuff on social media to check which one gets the most responds out of the audience viewing the post
This refers to a statement that one has written for the public to see, which is just a jumbled up piece of whatever anyone is inspired by or thinks
A name for the tool for creating and managing digital marketing adds for businessmen
There is quite a wide term. And in the social media terms is referred to as the program that is running the specific platform int the context
For those of you who don’t know, Dropshipping is a business model where you sell physical products to the consumer, except the products aren’t yours. You give the order to a supplier who fulfills the order and you only act as an intermediary. The infographic below might help you in understanding a little more.
Lets elaborate, let’s say you have been thinking about opening your own online business. But you don’t know where to start.
You don’t know what you should sell, you don’t have any money to invest in products and finally not even any space for inventory. Well, that’s where drop shipping comes in. To further explain, with drop shipping you can sell products with them never being in your hand. All you need is a computer, an online store, and a basic understanding of how to market and sell online.
Here is how it works
First, you find what you want to sell from a supplier and enlist that product on your website at a price you set which is higher than the suppliers’ price as it also includes your profit margin. Next, when someone places an order for that product. Your customer pays you the price that you had set which leads to you making a profit. Then, you will place the order with your supplier at the wholesale price. And have it shipped directly to your customer.
For instance, let’s say you found a pair of shoes on a supplier’s website for $100. You would then list it on your own website for $150. Afterwards, when the order comes through your website, you would then place your order with your suppliers providing them with your customer’s information. Hence a $ 50 profit for you, after the product is shipped directly to your customer. Surprising as it sounds that’s about it.
Application Programming Interface (API)
An API is a set of building blocks that programmers can use to develop computer programs. As far as social media is concerned, all the major social networks have their own APIs that let programmers create their own software that works with the networks. Third-party social media tools such as Falcon rely on social media APIs to integrate with platforms like Facebook.
This basically refers to the general public that would be viewing the post that is published
This basically means the profile picture. It is basically a small picture that represents you on social media. This can be from anything from a sign to a cartoon to a real photo
Your social media avatar, also known as your profile picture, is a small image that represents you on a social network. It can be a real photo of you, a corporate logo. Or anything you want your followers to identify as ‘you’ on social.
These are just random short videos from the poster that he/she posts either to inform his/her audience of something new or just talk to them for a little while
Average response time
Average response times refer to the time by which a brand responds back to a query or request on social media. This is something that is often used to compare brands with each other. And see how pro-active each one fo theme re compared to others. A recent study also shows that 42% of customers nowadays expect a response within 60 minutes.
This is basically making videos and posting them on social media platforms like Youtube. Where people watch those videos, share them. And share there own perspective about the subject matter. Or the overall video in the comment section
Your social media bio is a short description in your profile that tells people who you are. It’s also a great place to share links to your website or other accounts. On Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, it’s simply called a bio, while on LinkedIn it’s called a summary. Airbnb’s Instagram bio offers an example of how to describe your brand while plugging key hashtags and landing pages:
A boosted post is a Facebook post in which money has been invested to increase its overall reach. These are also known as promoted posts, boosted posts differ from Facebook ads in that they start out as organic posts and then get additional paid reach based on your spend. Also, you can launch them directly from your Facebook Page without using Ads Manager. Like Facebook ads, though, boosted posts allow you to target a specific audience and set an exact boost duration. And budget.
This refers to a customer who posts positive messages, leaves positive reviews, or otherwise supports your brand on social. Brand advocates may also encourage other users to use your products or services through word-of-mouth marketing.
Social Media Marketing
This is just marketing and promoting one’s products or services through social media, And of course, before there was social media, there wasn’t a term like social media marketing. It is considered one of the best ways to market a brand nowadays. And influencers ( people with a lot of followers on different social media platforms ) even take up to hundreds of thousands of dollar for promoting a brand
Brand awareness is the level of familiarity consumers have with your brand. It’s often considered one of the main goals of social media marketing. It’s also one of the objectives you can select for your Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns in Ads Manager. Brand awareness can be measured through impressions or reach, or more accurately through ad recall lift (an estimation of how many users would remember your brand after seeing the ad).
This is basically a software that helps organizations manage their Pages, ad accounts, and team members. It serves as a hub to connect a business’s advertising, finances, users, and Pages and allow for easy administration. It also ensures that company data. And account access is legally and practically under the control of the company instead of an individual user.
These are automated programs that use interact with the person that is talking to them. And gives them answers to their relevant queries, or seek out the relevant information needed. This is something that is highly used by Facebook advertisers
This is the first picture that someone sees on platforms like Youtube, that give a glimpse of what the actual content on that specific post would look like, And what is to be possibly expected from it. A lot of people make false clickbaits just to entice people for a click
Clickthrough rate (CTR)
This is a percentage of people that see a post and actually click on it. This is something that’s different than just seeing a post. And is one of the many ways people earn money through social media
Conversion rate (CVR)
This is basically just a rate of people that are doing a certain action after seeing a post, like clicking them, sharing them. Or downloading them if it something of a documentation sort. Moreover, things like signing up and providing emails is also under this heading. This is something elaborately for an online campaign runner and something
In social media terminology, the conversion rate is the percentage of users who see your post or ad who then take a specified action. That action is called a conversion, and it could mean purchasing an item, signing up for a newsletter, downloading an ebook. Or a variety of other acts. If your social media marketing goal is to increase conversions, your CVR is an important metric for analyzing how effective your post or ad is.
This is exactly what it sounds like but in the context of social media. It basically is how you handle events or interactions that could potentially damage your company’s reputation. Inappropriate posts by someone at your company or a social media boycott against your brand may qualify as social media crises. While a couple of angry comments from customers would not. This type of management requires social media managers to respond quickly. And follow a plan in order to de-escalate the problem at hand.
This means something that involves various social media platforms like Instagram and Youtube. There are alot of cross channel strategies that people also use to target a big amount of audience
This refers to using a large group of people to produce ideas, services, or content via a social network. It lets followers feel involved and engaged with your brand’s activity while generating ideas or content for your brand. Examples could be inviting your followers to vote on names for your new product. Or asking them to send in song submissions for your upcoming commercial.
This basically refers to a social media ad that doesn’t appear on an advertiser’s timeline. To get is quite unlike targetted or organic posts as they are more informal. And only target a certain group of people. A dark post is an informal term, the more official word for it is “unpublished page posts”
If you want to know more about dark posts, here is a link “What Are Dark Posts on Social Media?“
Dark social is often confused with dark posts. But the two social media are actually quite different. This basically refers to traffic on social media that traffic tools cannot or struggle to track. If you want to know more about dark social. Here is a link, “What is Dark Social and How Is It Affecting Your Brand?“
Direct message (DM)
A direct message on social media is a private message sent directly to a user’s inbox. This is one of the many ways of interacting with people on social media like commenting
Disappearing content, sometimes called ephemeral content. This refers to posts on social media that delete themselves automatically after a set amount of time has passed. Instagram and Snapchat Stories are good examples of this as they are only viewable for a certain amount of time.
For those of you who don’t know, Colloquialisms refer to the local language or islands. Language experts have found the increased speed at which people communicate on social networking sites means they are more likely to lapse into colloquialisms. And the rapid rise of social media and instant messaging in recent years has seen such regional phrases spread swiftly from one end of Britain to the other. Now social media is having the same effect TV campaigns had in encouraging the spread of regional phrases. ‘But social changes such as the speed of modern communication mean they are spreading much faster than they would have.
‘Twitter, Facebook, and texting all encourage speed and immediacy of understanding, meaning users type as they speak, using slang, dialect respellings, and colloquialisms. ‘The result is we are all becoming exposed to words we may not have otherwise encountered while absorbing them into everyday speech.’ Dr. Eric Schleef, lecturer in English Sociolinguistics at The University of Manchester, said the UK’s rich landscape of regional accents and dialects is evidence of society’s continuity and change, local history, and day-to-day lives. As a result, the English language continues to evolve as a colorful and expressive language
Down below is an extract from a writing from Jon Reed on this very topic to better look into the effects of social media on language
“The Speed of Social Media and language
What social media has done is enable us to communicate with a much larger number of people on a global scale in a way that we only really used to be able to do on a local level. This is great when it means we’re keeping friendships alive over great distances. But it’s also increasing the demands placed on an individual to keep a much larger number of relationships going simultaneously. For example, the average number of friends a person has on Facebook in the UK is around 300 – even if you’re only actually really friends with, say, 10% of that number that’s still 30 friendships to be maintaining. The result? An ever-increasing speed of communication. Facebook lets you communicate quickly, effectively. And, most importantly, efficiently.
Because written exchanges are concise and shared between all the friends you are connected with, meaning you only need to write them once. On Twitter there’s a 140 character limit. So even if you’re not against the clock you are quite literally forced to make the statement brief.
LOL! OMG! TTYL!.
The use of acronyms (an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words. And pronounced as a word) are now commonplace substitutes to whole sentences. LOL (laugh out loud), OMG (Oh my God), TTYL (talk to you later) are just a few that demonstrate how social media speeds things up by lessening the need to write longer phrases and reduces space
Emoticons/ Emojis (a representation of a facial expression such as a smile or frown. Formed by various combinations of keyboard characters) and used to convey what the user is feeling or to express the intended tone without actually having to write it.
You could argue that this is a lazy form of writing. But social media isn’t a process of creative writing (at least not in the traditional sense). It’s a fast and convenient way of interacting with an audience.
The impact of this on speech in the real world Language is an evolving thing.
It’s naive to think that the language of social media isn’t having an effect on the way we use English in day-to-day life. It’s more appropriate to consider just how much of an effect it’s having on the way we communicate. A whole host of words originating from social media. And the wider Internet have become so commonplace that they’ve now slipped into popular usage, and we don’t even realize it.
Just a few interesting words that have their origins in technology are blogosphere (the collective word for personal websites called blogs), troll (someone who creates conflict online by starting arguments or upsetting people). And buzzword (a word or phrase that is fashionable at a particular time or in a particular context). Even some acronyms have made the transition into everyday speech as words, ‘lol’ for example.
Another curious phenomenon
A phenomenon we’ve seen in recent years is the reappropriation of existing words and words based on brands to refer primarily to their social media context. Reappropriation is the cultural process by which a group claims words that were previously used in a certain way and gives them a new meaning. In this way, the people who engage with social media are quite literally creating new words. And giving new meanings to existing words. ‘Friended’ and ‘unfriended’ are two examples of words that have been given a new meaning due to their usage online.
The word ‘friend’ and ‘befriend’ is from Old English originating in the 13th Century. But it has been given an entirely new meaning thanks to Facebook (the process of adding or removing someone from your circle of friends). ‘Like’ and ‘viral’ are other popular examples of words that have had their meaning reappropriated by social media.
There are even instances of online brands becoming so powerful that words have crept into the English language based on them. ‘Google’ is the world’s leading search engine and it has become. So universal in its usage that the phrase ‘Google it’ has virtually replaced the phrase ‘search for it’ in common speech. There are examples of this lifted directly from social media too; ‘tweet it’ refers to writing a message using Twitter. But has essentially come to mean ‘share it’. So, has social media changed the way we speak and write English? Yes, undeniably. Just think, ten years ago, if someone you’d just met asked you to “be their friend” or “Instagram”. A photo of their lunch you’d have scratched your head and wondered if in fact they were feeling alright “
This was an elaborate article about social media and its impact on language, hopefully, this was helpful. If you have any further-related questions, feel free to use the comment section below and if you are interested in knowing some interesting facts about social media, we have an elaborate article on that too so do give it a look if you are interested “Social Media fun facts 2020: understanding social media“