Grammar is dying. Rather, society is killing grammar by not using it correctly.
Some people say they don’t care about grammar, but they should.
Social media has become a primary way for people to express views and beliefs. According to Statistic Brain, a website that gathers statistics on a variety of topics, Facebook is the largest online social media outlet, with 1.3 billon monthly active users.
It doesn’t take long to find an endless amount of errors while scrolling through the many comments and statuses on Facebook. On this platform, it appears users don’t feel an obligation to abide by the rules of grammar.
But many posts on Facebook are published for the world to see. Even something so miniscule as grammar can determine how someone is perceived. By using incorrect grammar, a message might be misinterpreted. This can lead to saying something that might offend another peer or convey a message entirely different than the writer intended.
Nowadays, there are millions of books, applications and websites that people can use as resources to learn proper grammar. This information is accessible within a click of a button. Even by searching the word “grammar” into Apple’s App Store, 158 results are generated. Grammar mistakes are embarrassing and avoidable. All it takes is to learn the rules of grammar.
Grammar is used to convey a clear and accurate message. For a speaker to be understood and a reader to understand, there must be rules. These rules offer make writing consistent. Without abiding by correct grammar rules, readers get confused. They wonder why the writing is not consistent and question if the information is even correct.
In almost every profession, grammar is required. Every person in the professional workforce must be able to convey a clear and accurate message. Recently, Forbes posted an article about a current poll that was conducted about how social media affects recruiters’ views of the candidates applying for a job. In the poll, 66 percent of the recruited were turned off by candidates if they used “poor spelling and grammar” throughout social media. Recruiters want candidates to have and use a basic understanding of correct grammar.
KRTV, a television-broadcasting channel based in Great Falls, Montana, posted an article that discussed the hiring procedures of the Great Falls Police Department. In the article, Jack Allen, the lieutenant of the Great Falls Police Department, said the department requires applicants to pass two tests: a physical test and a written test. The written test includes basic skills including “reading comprehension, math, grammar and writing.” This example shows how even if a job is not directly related to language, such as an editor or English teacher, employers still want candidates who have basic skills.
__By Alexa West
When the government shut down for 21 days in 1995, social media didn’t exist. That shutdown, according to a Gallup poll, didn’t affect public opinion in the long run.
But during the 16-day shutdown that ended Oct. 17, social media was used widely. When thousands of Americans temporarily lost their jobs and popular government programs closed, people could easily voice their opinions and share information on social media. Whether this shutdown — captured vividly on social media — will have a long-term impact on public opinion remains to be seen.
During the shutdown, Twitter was ablaze with trending topics surrounding the shutdown. Some of the more popular hashtags were: #GovernmentShutdown, #ShutdownPickupLines, #NoBudgetNoPants and #DearCongress.
Social media was used in several different ways. Some people used it to make fun of the shutdown. Others used it to express anger toward the government or perhaps bring change. However it was used, it iTwitter and other forms of social media gave the masses a voice.
Social media has become an easy way for Americans to communicate with politicians. Through the “Today” show’s #DearCongress hashtag, voters can tweet 140 characters of complaint or approval directly to all 532 members of Congress at once.
An article in The Oregonian said tens of thousands of fed-up Americans used social media to vent at Congress. It said during the last government shutdown, in 1995, angry Americans would have had to look up their representative’s address and write him or her a letter or possibly an email. Today, social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram allow Americans to instantly be heard by politicians and millions of other Americans.
It was not just the American people who turned to social media during the shutdown. Lawmakers used social media as a way to keep in touch with voters and reiterate their stances on issues such as Obamacare.
House Speaker John Boehner’s Oct. 2 Facebook post urging Senate Democrats to keep the government open earned more than 14,000 “likes” and more than 16,000 comments. Some hailed Boehner as a hero; others called him anything from a “crybaby” to a “terrorist.” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi’s Oct. 9 post blamed Boehner and House Republicans for the government shutdown and its ill effects on the nation. The post received more than 5,000 “likes” and nearly 2,000 comments on Facebook. Although it is impossible to calculate the impact politicians’ social media interactions had on the government shutdown, it is undeniable that it pushed the discussion further and allowed for more people to interact with politicians.
The American people were not only using social media to reach out to politicians. Reporters and news broadcasters were able to interact with the American people about the government shutdown through social media.
NBC News correspondent Kelly O’Donnell said in an article published in The Columbus Dispatch that social media proved especially helpful in her coverage of the shutdown. She said she used questions in her reporting that she got through Twitter and email from people across the nation.
In the same article, CNN congressional correspondent Dana Bash said social media made her reporting easier. In the past, Bash said, she would have to plead with producers for time off of the air to report. However, during her coverage of the recent shutdown, sources texted, tweeted or emailed her information to her while she was on the air, creating instant and accurate reporting.
What have we learned about social media’s role?
- Social media is a great way for millions of Americans to voice their opinions, reach out to politicians and spread information.
- Social media is a good platform for politicians to reach out to voters, especially during a time when they aren’t looked upon favorably, like a government shutdown.
- Social media also is a good way for reporters to stay in contact with sources and get accurate information fast.
Does social media influence politics? It may not bring the immediate change, but it definitely brings more voices to the table during a political discussion. Maybe a better question is, does social media influence the way the American people deal with politics? I would say yes. At times it may feel that we are powerless when it comes to politics and governmental decision-making. Social media gives everyone in our country a voice, which is more than can be said about many countries around the world today.
_By Ben Malotte
Connecting to readers should be the most important part of a journalist’s job. The most interesting, well-written piece will never get the readership numbers the writer would like if media outlets, and journalists themselves, aren’t adept at reaching out to readers. One way of doing this is through social media.
On the morning of Oct. 4, 2012, Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, announced on his page that Facebook had 1 billion people actively using the site each month. At the end of 2004, Facebook could only claim 1 million users. By the end of the next year, its population had grown to 5.5 million. Seven years later, the social networking site is the most popular in the world.
On the other side of social media domination is Twitter. In recent months, the site has been the subject of many stories about fake users. CEO Dick Costello said in September that Twitter has 100 million active users each month. This number is much lower than the 200,000 registered users. This should make media companies think about how many people they really are reaching when they tweet. StatusPeople has come up with a simple tool for finding this out. For example, The New York Times has more than 6 million followers. The StatusPeople app says that only 34 percent of these users are active.
While Twitter is a fantastic tool for spreading news and connecting quickly, it does not provide the same kind of platform for gaining readers that Facebook does. I think of Twitter more as a tool for connecting with other journalists or other people who are actively looking for news, whereas Facebook is a tool for connecting to everyday readers.
A 2012 study by the Pew Research Center shows that Facebook is the more popular of the two sites when it comes to getting news. However, neither is really driving that much traffic. Only 9 percent of digital news consumers follow links they find on either site. A lot of responsibility still lies with website designers because 39 percent of online news consumers are still going directly to news websites. But as the meteoric rise of Facebook shows, there is room for the growth in social media; it isn’t going away.
When it comes right down to it, Facebook and Twitter are both tools that journalists and news organizations should have in their box. The key is knowing how to use them. Facebook and Twitter will bring stories to different groups of readers. Journalists must know a potential audience is waiting on these two social media sites. Both sites are gaining users who could become readers.
By Mallory Miller