Published: 13th September 2020
An ode to Twitter: All about tweets, retweets and hashtags and their effects on English
There are many Twitter accounts that can help one improve their vocabulary and English, but one must be careful on the platform as people are prone to using short forms to beat the word limit
During the time of the pandemic, social media got to be the novel medium of communication to share opinions, connecting individuals and communities seamlessly. By July 2020, research revealed that around 3.8 billion people were using social media 24/7 across geographical, political, or economic borders, because of easy accessibility and affordability. Despite global lockdown, all of us have tried our best to stay socially.
Twitter, with over 330 million active users, has gained popularity due to an increasing reliance on mobile phones to access the internet. Our research findings reveal that with distinctive features of Twitter in language learning; the users are benefitting immensely.
In contemporary times, starting from the governments to sportspersons, business houses to celebrities, sharing happens as instant dialogue in the form of tweets followed by retweets on this platform. PM Narendra Modi became the first Indian leader who effectively connected with young voters on the internet and frequently used Twitter for effective communication. Furthermore, Twitter has also been used as one of the effective mediums of communication among world leaders during this pandemic. The recent data reveals that 88.9 per cent of G7 leaders have Twitter accounts with massive followers of around 85.7 million users. The above statements proved that Twitter is an effective medium of engagement.
With the changing scenario of exchanging knowledge, Twitter has played a vital role in transforming and enhancing English language skills, in terms of practising writing skills and improving vocabulary. Many studies also prove that the use of web-based technologies has helped learners in developing language skill and comprehension. By and large, most of the conversation on Twitter is open and hence, allows the reader to share and to express opinions in a more defined way. Many Twitter accounts post daily tips, tricks and vocabulary that can be followed to strengthen communication skills.
Dr V Vijay Kumar and Isha Sharma | (Pic: Dr V Vijay Kumar and Isha Sharma)
Similarly, Twitter in the context of teaching and learning, has also received a good deal of attention. For a learner, Twitter language learning proved beneficial as it helps new generations adopt new language learning techniques. At the same time, youngsters’ involvement in Twitter also enhances their thought process of writing and connecting to the real world of communication. It also helped in reading, writing and developing vocabulary skills. Twitter is not only helpful in teaching and learning activities but also plays a significant role in the research domain by helping language teachers to impart language item to their learners.
While Twitter’s platform has remained relatively unchanged over the last decade, it has created an alarming situation for users due to lack of interest in writing complete sentences, shortened their expressions and ideas. These shorten terms are forcing learners towards laziness and incompetence.
Recent technological developments have an impact on our language learning through different social media. Twitter, the de-facto medium, proved an essential medium in academic and non-academic place in English language learning. Twitter, one of the youngest platforms of social media communication, is beneficial for a major chunk of people for developing and regulating their languages by learning from collaborative language skills. Therefore, English language communication should be global and formal in the sense that it can be helpful for everyone. The recent COVID-19 Twitter trends, of communities of the world to government organisations, show the belief on such a platform to disseminate information to reach a wide range of people. It is only required for all of us to take general caution with regards to the English language that adds value to our communication.
Isha Sharma is an English Language Teacher from The Aditya Birla Public School, Bhubaneswar while Dr V Vijay Kumar is the Dean (Acting) from Xavier School of Communications, Xavier University Bhubaneswar