As college students, we are bombarded every day with content and writing in the form of social media. Think about it, how often do you read an Instagram post, snap, or tweet?
Chances are, you either read or write for social media on a daily basis. Instagram captions, snaps, and tweets all share a common factor of fast and instant communication. Usually, a viewer won’t spend more than 30 seconds reading a caption or tweet. I know that I tend to quickly scroll through content until I find something interesting.
So, if a person doesn’t look at a single social media post for longer than a minute, is using correct grammar important?
I say yes - and no.
Most social media posts are short and to the point, so using correct grammar is important to convey a message clearly and in a short period of time. From experience, I will say that when I encounter a social media post with a typo or error, I will be less inclined to finish reading it or take it seriously. However, a social media post doesn’t have to be written like a formal essay either – it’s meant to be fun!
However, writing clearly also depends on the context and audience of the post.
For example, I run the MC Writing Center’s social media accounts, so the posts are tailored toward writers and tutors. If my posts had incorrect spelling and tons of grammar issues, the services the Writing Center offers would be discredited, and writers would be less inclined to visit. I also try to stay away from using too much slang when I post for the Writing Center in order to keep it professional.
If I’m writing a social media post for my personal accounts, I am more likely to use more acronyms, less punctuation, and more emojis ☺
As a student, think about the number of times you see incorrect grammar and punctuation on social media. Does the sentence start with a capital letter and end with correct punctuation? Is the spelling correct? Does the caption make sense? Sometimes a social media post won’t have the traditional attributes of what makes a “proper” sentence, but it still communicates the idea - and I think that’s ok too!
Once again, context is important. For example, Twitter has a limited character count, so sometimes shortening words or replacing them with emojis is appropriate. However, if I’m writing a 4mal essay or article, sum ppl would get frustrated w/ my writing.
Using proper grammar when writing social media posts can be a good way to practice writing correctly. But social media can also be used as an escape from the strict formality of academic and professional writing. It’s really up to the writer to decide what type of message they want to get across on social media.
You could choose to be a stickler about grammar on social media, or you can let loose and be more creative.
So, post away (but please remember the difference between your and you’re)!