Clive Thompson's The New Literacy: Is Social Media Helping Students Write Better?

Topics: Writing, Social media, Journalism Pages: 3 (1015 words) Published: March 10, 2015
In the article “The New Literacy” by Clive Thompson, he argues alongside with Stanford University professor Andrea Lunsford that technology, specifically social media, is improving students’ writing ability. There is a great deal of debate when judging social media and how it has affected this generation for the better or worse. According to Thompson, Lunsford indicates that technology is motivating and improving the writing capability of our peers today. Personally, I disagree with Thompson’s positive outlook on the effect social media has on students’ writing capability and believe that social media has destroyed and continues to destroy students’ proper writing technique. Thompson’s argument is that social media today is cultivating our young minds and our writing skills into a distinct modern literacy. He asserts that most of our socializing today involves some sort of writing. He goes on to explain that students are writing more than any generation before them since the Greeks. Professor Lunsford conducted a study at Stanford examining students’ writing in e-mails, blogs, and class assignments. She found in her study that a stunning 38 percent of students’ writing took place outside the classroom through Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets. This was a massive shift from before the internet age when people primarily commucated verbally and nearly never wrote outside of school. Lunsford found in her study that students are less motivated to write school papers because they prefer to write for a broad audience and not just for their teacher. Thompson expresses that the current writing revolution we are in is not making students worse writers, but actually evolving their abilities. One problem is that people rarely think through what they post on social media outlets. Most of us in this digital age are so busy multitasking, we tend to be spontaneous when writing our next post, tweet, or message. According to English professor John Sutherland, from...
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