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The Effects of Social Media Before the culture of social media sites had made its presence in the lives of students all over the world, teachers would guide others into learning the English language. However, after the gradual appearance of shorthand messages over the years, students are now the leaders of this new language of the generation. This modern writing style has become more popular overtime and has attracted both positive and negative attention and it is believed that social media may be at fault. In Jennifer Lees article, I Think Therefore IM, she explains that social media is the root of the use of abbreviations in students papers. Teachers are constantly marking their students down for using these shortcuts in schoolwork assignments. Some have even gone as far as saying that they are insane. Teachers had to make up charts to help them with decoding the students assignments. Considering the fact that Lee is concerned about the use of social media being harmful to the English language, she has an overall negative perspective about the impact of social media that has influenced the students. As more and more teenagers socialize online, middle school and high schools teachers like Ms. Harding are increasingly seeing a breezy form of Internet English jump from email into schoolwork. To their dismay, teachers say that papers are being written with shortened words, improper capitalization and punctuation, and characters like &, $, and @. (Lee 395) Lee stresses the fact that social media is the cause of students failing due to the abbreviations that they have adapted from instant messaging and such.

However, Monica Nickelsburg, the author of the article Does Social Media Make Us Smarter?, contradicts the idea that social media has that impact on the students. In fact, she even believes that social media strengthens the writing abilities of teenagers. Digital connectedness can also provide students with a greater sense of purpose in their work. Writing for an engaged, responsive audience often motivates people to make their work more compelling, even if they're just composing a 140-character tweet. (Nickelsburg) Nickelsburg supports the effects of social media on teenagers. To prove her point furthermore, Nickelsburg provides a concluded research regarding whether or not social media has even changed the quality of students papers. Her article informs the readers about Andrea Lunsford, a Stanford professor. Lunsford collected 877 papers written by freshmen college students from 1917 to 2006. Often the biggest complaint about "digital natives" is lazy prose a tendency to use abbreviations and poor grammar but Lunsford's research suggests that's a myth. (Nickelsburg) Throughout all of the years from 1917 to 2006, it was found by Lunsford that the quality of papers have actually improved, an idea that Lee would have immediately disagreed with. The Stanford professor stated the fact that papers now are, in fact, more thoroughly researched and even up to six times longer than papers from 1917. This evidence goes against what Lees article suggested. However, although Nickelsburg article is essentially positive, there are also some negatives when it comes to using social media. Research also suggests that Facebook can contribute to feelings of sadness and dissatisfaction. (Nickelsburg) This could be due to the fact that cyber bullying is a frequent occurrence. Also, some teenagers rely so much on typed communications nowadays that they might be depressed by having a lack of genuine face-to-face

communication. Jennifer Lee would agree with this idea. In her article she quotes a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technologys Media Lab. They have a social life that centers around typed communication. They have a writing style that has been nurtured in a teenage social milieu. (Lee 396) This connection illustrates that there are both negative and positive aspects about social media sites overall. Another negative aspect that both Lee and Nickelsburg could agree on is that using social media sites shorten teenagers attention spans. One clear casualty of the digital revolution is our attention spans. Ten years ago the average attention span was 12 minutes. In just a decade it's been reduced to five seconds. Therefore, the effect of technology is quite shocking. This is probably due to students not paying enough attention in class because of their boredom. These students are most likely scrolling through their newsfeed on Facebook or Twitter feed during class time. In I Think, Therefore IM, Jennifer Lee interviewed a high school student regarding as to why she used abbreviations in her essay: Ms. Brecker once handed in a midterm exam riddled with instant-messaging short-hand. I had an hour to write an essay on Romeo and Juliet, she said. I just wanted to finish before my time was up. I was writing fast and carelessly. I spelled you u. She got a C. This connects to the quote from Nickelsburgs article because it is, in a way, an example of the depleting attention span in todays students. Ms. Brecker could have taken her time to make sure she wrote a good quality essay, instead she wanted to get it over with as soon as possible. Although this goes against what Nickelsburg had said about Lunsfords findings, this essay might not apply because it was timed, whereas the papers that Lunsford had collected were

most likely not. Therefore, the students whose papers Lunsford collected were not as stressed and resulted to using abbreviations in their papers. In conclusion, there are clearly many aspects to consider regarding social media. In the conversation about social media, Jennifer Lee provides information about social media causing teenagers to use abbreviations in papers. Because the article was written a while ago, it does not provide relevant information. In Monica Nickelsburgs article, she provides recent studies to validate her article. Social media may be the root of using abbreviations in formal papers; however it does not mean the social media only affects students negatively. Generally, students do understand when and when not to use these shortcuts and realize that it is a communicational way of writing rather than a formal way of writing. I Think Therefore IM is recommended for students to make them aware that they should not be using abbreviations in their papers.