Like. Friend. Wall. Status. Page.
These are all fairly simple words for us to understand and they are all words we are very familiar with; however, these are all words which have slightly altered in meaning, specifically in the context of social media, or Facebook. Now, we can physically click a button to show we like something–or we can even friend or unfriend someone. Social media has manifested into a new media language which is distinct from, but complimentary to conventional written English.
Many would argue that internet lingo has caused the English language to slowly deteriorate from careless spelling errors, technically incorrect use of language, or a stream of juvenile abbreviations or acronyms, however, on the contrary, the English language is just changing–like it always does–but in a manner that compliments the rapid, concise interactions of our daily lives. Considering how much of the written language we see is on our phones, laptops and tablets, wouldn’t it make sense for our language to pick up on numerous trends, jokes, or sayings which have reached a global audience? For example, Twitter and the use of hashtags allows a global community to have a virtual conversation, all branded under “#.” Or instead of saying “I’ll look it up,” most would just say “I’ll Google it.” And no longer are “trolls” just viewed as weird, barbaric monsters holding chunky bats, but are also used to describe a person online who makes offensive or aggravating comments.
In 2015, Oxford dictionary’s word of the year was “emojis.” Yes, the word of the year represented the tiny, friendly pictures we have now been using as a means of communication. Oxford dictionary also added things like “hangry,” “selfie,” or “wine o’clock,” words that have very much so stemmed from internet culture.
In 2010, Christopher Poole, founder of 4Chan, was called to testify in court what it meant to be “rickrolled.”
“Rickroll is a meme or internet kind of trend…it’s basically a bait and switch. Users link you to a video of Rick Astley performing Never Gonna Give You Up,” said Mr Poole.
“And the term “rickroll” – you said it tries to make people go to a site where they think it is going be one thing, but it is a video of Rick Astley, right?,” asked the lawyer.
“He was some kind of singer?”
“It’s a joke?”
And I would be damned if you’ve never been rickrolled in your life because being rickrolled is as much part of internet culture and the use of social media as is being tagged in useless memes that tell me I owe someone chicken nuggets.
So though the use of social media may have opened a gateway for bad grammar and incorrect language, it has also shaped the way we speak in our everyday lives and that goes to show the pervasive effects of the internet.
Written by Pia Araneta