Social Media Language, Taking Over the Oxford English Dictionary

Posted on August 21st 2011

Social Media Language, Taking Over the Oxford English Dictionary

Social media has taken the world by storm. There's no doubt about that, it is but a fact. People talk about all things social media and networking every single day, whether it be at work, in business or even personally with friends. You've probably over heard groups of people talking about the latest gossip on Facebook yourself, it really is everywhere. People talk about it so regularly now, that language which is associated with social networking has officially made into the Oxford English Dictionary. This helps prove just how substantial sites like Facebook and Twitter are in todays professional and personal worlds.

A prime example of a term which has become common place in day to day life and thus made its debut into the Dictionary, is derived from Twitter and is the term, "Re-Tweet". The official definition of this word is, as stated in the Oxford Dictionary,

  • Pronunciation:/riːˈtwiːt/
  • verb: (on the social networking service Twitter) repost or forward (a message posted by another user). Noun: are posted or forwarded message on Twitter" -Courtesy of BBC Online

Social Media Terms, Will They Replace Traditional Words?

The likes of Twitter and Facebook have become such an integral part of peoples lives that it's no wonder we talk about it, usually using the language associated with the working of these networks. It's easy to use this language when it so easily and best describes the functions they carry out. The more people talk, the more popular language and terms become, hence why they are immortalised in dictionaries as known and accepted phrases within modern language.

Technological terms are just as important to modern society than more broad and well known terms and words. It's possible that they may even replace older phrases. A good example of this would be "Friend Me", as in the Facebook action of requesting friendship. Personally, I detest this phrase as I believe it's incredibly lazy use of language. However, although it's not accepted in the Dictionary yet,  it doesn't mean that it wont be in years to come. This is because it's a word which you hear more and more and so it's gaining traction. The popular a word is, especially if used globally,  the more likely it can be added to a dictionary. You never know, to "Be-friend" someone may be a thing of the past but I sincerely hope not. Be-friending just sounds so much more pleasant and correct but the feelings of one person means very little!

Another social media term that has now officially graced the pages of one of the world's most respected dictionaries is, "Follower". This is described as,

  • Pronunciation:/ˈfɒləʊə/
  • noun: someone who is tracking a particular person, group, or organization on a social networking site". Courtesy of BBC online.

The fact that they have made it into the OED means that they are terms which are deemed to be with us for the long run. Fiona McPherson, senior editor, has said that these are all terms which will be with us for years to come, "Some words are flash in the pan, but you can normally gauge by using your own judgement whether or not something is going to have a life."

Times change, people move on and as they do, so does the language they use. Whether you agree with all the changes in "hip and young" words, even spellings, social media has created a language all of its own and this acceptance of it by official books means it's definitely part of everyone's lives from here on in. It's time to embrace this change and get yourself up to date with all these newfangled technology terms!

Who Wrote This Article

I'm Nikki and I work as part of MarketMeSuite the social media marketing dashboard. And big news... we're now free! Please check it out and be sure to let me know what you think.

- Articles mentioned in the post: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14588727

- Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/emptiful


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Nikki Peters

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Comments

jaytkekae
Posted on August 21st 2011 at 11:29AM
The world is on our fingertips and that's something that's not about to change so we should just embrace it. I must admit I like the "hip and young" usage of words, even spellings, social media has created....
Posted on August 21st 2011 at 12:36PM

Social media vocabulary isn't a language all its own. It's part of an evolving English language. By the time they make the dictionary, new words have been in use in print for quite some time, and they've often transitioned from relative obscurity as industry jargon into popular usage. "Internet" is a good example.

Posted on August 22nd 2011 at 7:36AM

Great post Nikki! How long until we will be looking up the meaning of ROFL?