If you are a frequent online user, and moreover, a fan of social media, some if not all of the following abbreviations must have popped up more than once on your screen. Despite the fact that those shortcuts are considered as slang, it has been recognized as real words! The Oxford English Dictionary describes OMG as “Oh my God” or “Oh my goodness”, LOL as “laughing out loud”, TMI as “too much information”, FYI as “for your information” and BFF as “best friends forever”. (OED, 2011; Mintz, 2011).
Take a look at this funny video about LOL!
But the changes in linguistics that social media has brought to our lives do not end there. Computer-mediated communication has existed prior to the social media era, especially with the use of SMS and instant messaging. Intentional misspelling can be an example to that (e.g. accentuation of expression: “sssooooooo gooooood!”) (Sheldon, 2010)
Facebook was translated to numerous languages in the aim to become global and reach the most people it could around the world. Living in a globalized world, many Facebook users have foreign friends who do not always speak a common language. Facebook therefore offers translation services which allow users to communicate in multiple languages (with a link to translation of posts or comments). (Facebook, 2011)
Profanity is becoming more and more common in social media, and according to a study conducted on the topic, 47% of Facebook users have it on their walls. (Wasserman, 2011). The boundary of what is considered as swearing and what is accepted by others is a controversial topic. What do you consider as vulgar? Listen to this cool song! (Or do you only know the “Forget you” version?)
So what will come next and how far will it eventually go? In what way will social media alter our language tomorrow? Should we be worried? TMI? OMG!
This Article is written by Nili Berg. She is student MSc Student International Management at FHNW. Thank you Nili for this blog post! /cmb