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Influence of Digital Social Media in Writing and Speaking of Tertiary Level Student

Influence of Digital Social Media in Writing and Speaking of Tertiary Level Student 

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The creation of digital social media has brought a huge change among the people of 20th century. This new technology carries much weight as a new medium for students and also for the educators to build social connections. Anderson (2008) says online learning, as a subset of all distance education, has always been concerned with provision of access to educational experience that is, at the least, more flexible in time and in space than campus-based education (p. 53). The purpose of that study is to find out how the digital social media influence the writing and speaking, how they motivate students to improve their productive skills, and in what extend SNS is useful for the students to improve English language.

With the aim of exploring the influence of digital social media in writing and speaking of tertiary level student, this research was conducted at 8 private and public universities in Bangladesh. A sample of sixteen teachers and one hundred sixty students were respectively selected from five private universities and three public universities in Bangladesh. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were applied during data analysis.

The results indicated that digital social media has several influence in the writing and speaking of tertiary level student with the positive effects outweighing the negative effects. The findings confirmed that students as well as the teachers can formulate group discussions where they can exchange their ideas, can share course related materials, appeal to their student about assignments which helping the students to enhance their writing as well as their speaking.

However the findings affirmed that digital social media also has some negative influence. The students use short form of words, incorrect grammar and sentence structure in their formal writing and speaking unconsciously, which are the effects of digital social media as students are now much more familiar with those types of language.

So the principal conclusion was that the use of digital social media has both positive and negative influence, but the student has to motivate themselves properly to utilize the use of SNS which will enrich their English writing and speaking.


  • Introduction

 Once social media was introduced, it enabled a new way for people, particularly the younger generation, to connect with one another, based on common interests, goals and even values. – Raymond Arroyo (2012)

People are living in a global world and everyday they are adopting new technologies, information, lifestyle, language and so on. And nowadays digital social media (facebook, twitter, yahoo messenger, google plus,) are very popular among young generations and they are influenced more by them.

They think what they are pursuing in the digital social media is up to date and if they follow those trends, people will find them smart. However nowadays there are influences of digital social media in language acquisition of young learner. Young people are now most of the time connected with the people through digital social media, so intentionally or unintentionally they are following that trend of language acquisition.

Marshall McLuhan (2003), in his book, The Book of Probes, comments, “All media exist to invest our lives with artificial perceptions and arbitrary values” (p.199). In fact, the Media plays a significant role in people’s everyday routines, actions and reactions. Digital social media in many ways influencing people’s life as it expands our social circle and explore new horizon through online connection, though it is changing the approach of communication.

The young generations nowadays often use facebook, twitter, google plus, skype, yahoo messenger etc. With the prevalence of smart phones and popularity of texting, students are able to connect with their friends, family members, and with others. As people are able to meet different people of different country, they are learning new language through their conversation in social media.

80 percent of teen users are now frequenting social media sites, and they are using many different types of communication in the world of social media, like Netspeak, overuse of abbreviations or slang. So there is no doubt that our real world social lives have got some changes. Therefore some parents are worrying about their children’s future language acquisition which is a very promising reality.

It’s slightly less in-your-face, but the Internet is also shifting the words we use to speak to one another, not just the way we choose to communicate. Our obsession with the Internet even influences the simple act of talking – out loud, in real life. Certain acronyms, neologisms, and abbreviations have infiltrated everyday speech. (Chopra, 2013)

In the digital social media the young generations use some popular terms like LOL (for “laugh out loud”) which is developed into unique words. It has a meaning greater than their original abbreviation. LOL is now used like a type of punctuation to add a joking or cheerful intonation to messages. It doesn’t always indicate literal laughter.

Though the young people are using it with their friends informally, unintentionally they are acquiring these languages, and they use it in their formal writing and speaking. This types of text shorthand is now becoming a language all its own. As a result they are using those languages formally in the public place. As a result they are destroying their language. Digital social media uses require some unique adaptations, but it also provides us a new way of communication.

Influence of Digital Social Media in Writing and Speaking of Tertiary Level Student

1.1  Problem statement

 With over 100 social networking sites in existence and over a billion registered users on these sites, social networks today seem to have become a way of life. From this ever increasing number of networking sites and users emerges a behavior that has become a part of popular youth culture across continents and is increasingly popular amongst youth in Asia.

According to Hiradhar & Gray (2008) MySpace, one of the best-known social networking sites now has some 110 million users. Other popular sites include Friendster (58 million); Hi5 (70 million); Linkedin (20 million); Facebook, which is now number nine in the top twenty list of web sites in the USA (over 69 million); Xanga (40 million) and; Flickr (9.6 million). Research by Boyd (2008) showed that tertiary level students were more likely to access social networking sites on the internet at their schools than anywhere else.

He also states media reports have suggested that some tertiary schools in Botswana have banned access to these sites. It is clear that all most all the student of tertiary level is connected with the digital social media and they spend most of the time in those social networking sites. Therefore there is no doubt digital social media is influencing the writing and speaking of the students of tertiary level.

“Online social networks most commonly refer to the way that people are connecting online, as well as the platform they are using to do this” (Tyson, 2009, p.10). So the students are getting platform to practice their productive skill (English writing and speaking) in the SNS. Therefore in the research paper it will find, how digital social media influences the writing and speaking of tertiary level students, how it motivates and helps the student to improve their English writing and speaking.

1.2 Purpose of the study

 The way of speaking and writing of young generation is changing day- by- day, by the influence of digital social media. The text which we used for communication in the digital social media is basically production of our speech. What we try to say, reflect in or text message.

The networks normally contain a relationship between the entities in it, an association such as a shared value, kinship, friendship, business transaction or other system. The networking that occurs influences an individual’s thoughts, feelings and ideas and is an essential element of human interaction (Tyson, 2009, p.10).

However the digital social media is not only influencing the thoughts, feelings, and ideas of people but also the writing and speaking. The purpose of that study is to find, how the digital social media is influencing the writing and speaking, how they motivating the students to improve English, and in what extent SNS is useful to developing tertiary level students’ English language.

1.3 Central Research Questions/objective of the study

 How are the digital social media influencing writing and speaking of tertiary level students?

  1. Do digital social media motivate the tertiary level students to improve their English?
  2. What aspects of digital social media are helping the learners of tertiary level to improve their English Language (writing, speaking)?
  3. In what extent teachers find social media useful for their learners? Is there any negative influence of this? What is that?

1.4 Significance of the study 

 It is true that digital social media is playing a great role to connect the people though they are far away from one another. The young generation likes to follow the new trend as well they like to follow others. Therefore nowadays the young people follow what are others are doing in SNS, what activities people appreciate most, and they are motivated by that. Young generations like to observe others, imitate others, try to acquire those behaviors and finally show those through their action.

According to Bandhura (1977) most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling, from observing others, one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action (p 22). People usually write something in the digital social media what they want to present.

Where writing was once a solitary activity, it has now become a very social way to communicate (ibid). Before the Internet, most people wrote to communicate with other person. Now we can reach hundreds or thousands of people with a single post. Chopra (2013) said we search for laptop deals with an eye to wireless connectivity in order to stay connected and communicate with a global audience at a moment’s notice. Rather than eroding our writing skills, this has sharpened them. Nowadays people can easily communicate to each other through the digital social media and they prefer writing and speaking as the medium of communication.

Nowadays the writing and speaking of young generation is changing. They use short form, poor grammar and symbols in SNS to express their thoughts and it happens both in writing and speaking. And these kinds of practices also have an impact in their formal writing and Speaking. It is not that SNS has only negative impact in writing and speaking of the people, it also helps the young generation to learn new language, motivates them to learn language and also improve their English language.

Therefore in this paper the focus is to find out the influence of digital social media in writing and speaking of tertiary level student, how it motivates them to improve their writing and speaking, and how it helps them to improve their English language. It also finds the negative influence of digital social media in English language and in what extent social media is useful for learners.

1.5 Delimitation 

This research is focusing on influence of digital social media in language acquisition. So the research narrows down its area from media to social digital media. Therefore to construct the thesis concise, this research focuses on two productive skills; speaking and writing among four productive skill of language acquisition.

1.6  Limitation

 This research was conducted in universities of Dhaka only. Moreover, the research was limited to very few institutions due to time constraints. Even it was almost impossible to get in and reach the students of some universities because of the strict security system, so, it was quite difficult to generalize the influence of digital social media in language acquisition.

1.7  Operational Definitions 

  • CALL: Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) is often perceived, the search for and study of applications of the computer in language teaching and learning (Levy, 1997).
  • CMC: Computer-mediated communication (CMC), the communication that occurs between humans via some form of computer, such as a desktop, mobile phone or similar (Hardaker, 2010).
  • : Netspeak: The term ‘Netspeak’ is an alternative to ‘Netlish’, ‘Weblish’, ‘Internet language’, ‘cyberspeak’, ‘electronic discourse’, ‘electronic language’, ‘interactive written discourse’, ‘computer-mediated communication’ (CMC), and other more cumbersome locutions (Crystal, 2001).
  • : SNS: Social network sites is defined as web based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi public profile within a bounded system,

(2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. The nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to site (Kumar et al, 2013).

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