There is no doubt that technology has made an impact on who writes, how people write, and why people write. Ben Yagoda discusses the positive and negative effects the internet has had on today’s writing. In “Is the Internet Good for Writing? Part 1: Affirmative” Andrea Lunsford of Stanford believes “We’re in the midst of a literacy revolution the likes of which we have not seen since Greek civilization” (Yagoda, October 3, 2013). People are writing more, reading more and connecting in ways that aren’t available without the use of the internet.
While this is great much of the writing on the internet would make many English professors cringe. Yagoda also writes about the flip side of the argument in “Is the Internet Good for Writing? Part 2: Negative” pointing out ways in which some darker human tendencies develop such as “superficiality, triviality, groupthink, meanness, narcissism, and a short attention span: maybe worst of all, a seeking out of short-term merit badges (clicks, ‘likes’, comments, retweets, page views) at the expense of complexity and depth” (October 7, 2013). Writing found on the internet doesn’t have to be well written for people to want to read. It only has to be interesting.
This is a valid debate. There are a great number of writing outlets through the internet where people are able to state their thoughts regardless of how well they can write. There is a wide range of writing styles on the internet from professional to those who seem to be free writing. It seems that the internet allows equal opportunity to anyone who desires to write. In another article “How the Internet made me a better writer” Noah Berlatsky explains that by posting his writings online he was able to improve by getting feedback from others. In his experience “Writing online is a better way of thinking than writing alone, in short, because writing online allows you to take advantage of other people’s thinking too” (Berlatsky 2014). Sure people can write with pen and paper and have others review it before posting it for the world to see but by using the internet as part of the writing process there is a larger audience to offer feedback.
The internet has been gracious enough to highlight the need for improving the written language. The internet alone cannot be responsible for poor writing skills. While texting and other forms of communicating have opened doors for newer versions of shorthand that have contributed to poor writing skills education is also to blame. Another article regarding the effects the internet has had on writing is “The Internet Doesn’t Have to Kill But Can Instead Cultivate Writing – Good Writing” points out that “Most mistakes already existed, only becoming more obvious with the increased use of the World Wide Web and other communication technologies, like texting” (VanNest 2013). As people look for someone or something to blame for the varying degrees of writing online it is important to be open minded because there is likely multiple culprits.
Berlatsky, Noah. “How the Internet made me a better write.” Salon.com. January 27, 2014. <http://www.salon.com/2014/01/27/how_the_internet_made_me_a_better_writer/>.
VanNest, Allison. “The Internet Doesn’t Have to Kill But Can Instead Cultivate Writing – GoodWriting.” Grammarly.com. July 10, 2013. <http://www.grammarly.com/blog/2013/the-internet-doesnt-have-to-kill-but-can-instead-cultivate-writing-good-writing/>.
Yagoda, Ben. “Is the Internet Good for Writing? Part 1: Affirmative.” The Chronicle of Higher Education: Lingua Franca. October 3 2013. <http://chronicle.com/blogs/linguafranca/2013/10/03/is-the-internet-good-for-writing-part-i-affirmative/>.
Yagoda, Ben. “Is the Internet Good for Writing? Part 2: Negative.” The Chronicle of Higher Education: Lingua Franca. October 7 2013. <http://chronicle.com/blogs/linguafranca/2013/10/07/is-the-internet-good-for-writing/>.