How Social Media Changed the English Landscape

Nothing is permanent in this world but change. The English language, for one, is a classic example of dynamism and vibrancy. Who would have thought that the words of Shakespeare would seem out-of-this world for many young students, yet the famous playwright himself would cringe at the thought of words like LOL or selfie?

Because of modernization and the influx of technology, the English language is so flexible in accommodating these “fad” words. While there were some words that appeared briefly, there are some that are here to stay. Because of this, many publishers are in a hurry to update these words and at the same time, they need to make sure that there is still room for significance and reliability. Now, all eyes are focused on social media as these are responsible for the creation and adoption of new words in our society.


Radio, print and television are considered as the traditional media. These are the ways in which people, most especially the young know and learn the English language. However, the social media landscape paved the way for on-line dictionaries to be on the look-out for emerging or coined terms.

People nowadays are so creative when it comes to inventing new words that each day, social media are utilized and maximized for people to be aware and to rally behind these words. Thus, these have become tools that would gauge the power and acceptance of new words based on various word suggestions. Aside from that, people are also forced to make things brief. Thus, messages and information are passed instantaneously and the audience, as receivers of the said message are exposed to terms that are shortened so as to save space. Little by little, these shortened words are accepted and have become part of everyday communication.


It is interesting to note that social media has been the source for the emergence of new vocabularies. Most of these terms come from the description of various aspects of social media or based on the rampant and sometimes careless use, misuse and even overuse of pop culture icons.

Google, which is a well-known search engine, does not only function as a noun. Today, it has become a verb or an action to refer to “search”. Thus, do not frown when someone asks you to google something. Acronyms have also become acceptable in everyday situations. LOL stands for “laughing out loud”; GTG stands for “got to go”; YOLO means “you only live once” and TTYL stands for “talk to you later”. These terms only proved that social media paved the way to make things and ideas shorter so as to minimize space and to save time. Furthermore, one cannot help but wonder how blogosphere was made, which refers to the collective word for personal websites or blogs. Trolls used to be hideous creatures from fairy tales but they have taken a different form today as these refer to those who create conflicts on-line. They love to bash or criticize people on various social media sites.

A friend used to refer to a person that you happen to share similarities with; however, it has taken a whole new meaning in today’s society as it becomes an action. Because of the popularity of social media sites, “friended” becomes an action, as well as “unfriended”. Simply put, these words refer to adding or deleting someone from your list.

Now, if someone asks you if social media has an impact in the English language, the answer is ABSOLUTELY! Social media is a driving force in our lives. It will be a dominant force to reckon with because it changes the way we communicate and use the English language. It has changed the way we think, the way we talk, the way we listen, the way we read and the way we write in English.


DID YOU KNOW: Insworld Institute offers an English for Academic Study programme to students who would like to further improve their English proficiency and prepare for international language tests such as IELTS. For more information about the school’s ECAs, you may click here

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Gwendilyn Abrico is well experienced in teaching English and Mass Communication subjects and used to teach "English as a Foreign Language" in a university in South Korea.She now teaches "English as a Second Language" at Insworld Institute.