How the Web Changes Content, Language
Company content creators need to understand the impact the Internet has on language in order to stand out. During the 24 years since the World Wide Web became publicly available, it has undoubtedly had a tremendous impact on how we interact with each other. The dominance of emojis, slang and abbreviations have caused some to speculate that the Internet is killing language. However, far from driving degradation, the Web has sparked an evolution in both how we communicate and the language we use.
The Internet as an Educator
Writers and editors have become better-educated and more aware of global grammatical standards, as online content lays bare the disparity between good and bad copy. In addition, not only is access to high-quality content in print and online essential in raising the bar, due to its ability to educate and inform the reader, the Web also provides an invaluable source of information and inspiration. However, the downside is writers today can rely too heavily on online research rather than experience. Short-form and long-form online media can help grow our awareness and comprehension, as the huge influence of Wikipedia and YouTube illustrates, but they can also be a hindrance if the writer is too dependent on them.
The Rise of a Global Language
In addition to supporting the evolution of grammatical standards and underpinning content creation, the Internet is also driving a globalized language. Users have a heightened awareness of global culture, with Americanisms such as “road trip” and “what’s up?” becoming integrated into other languages, worldwide.
Creating a New Breed of Writers
Writing, too, has become more idiosyncratic and unique, helping to build the subcultures that we now see via blogs, content marketing and social media. And in doing so, the Web has created new breeds of writers – those who specialize in short-form and those who focus on long-form. In our experience, it’s rare to find writers who can excel in both. This has been enforced by the challenges posed by microblogging platforms, which enable us to communicate with a large number of people globally in a brief and succinct way, which suits some writers more than others.
While the Internet has undoubtedly altered language, the changes don’t matter. We can’t control them. Culture has a way of evolving, and that’s exactly what we’re experiencing with language.
There are tried-and-tested rules for good communication, but this does depend on the platform and the resource. We don’t doubt the best way to communicate still is via a face-to-face conversation, in person. But this, of course, isn’t always feasible in our globalized world. From a business perspective, emails, texts and Skype calls are very efficient and can support a business in a productive environment, globally.
What does matter is that businesses use the right language, depending on the platform they are writing for, in order to keep their customers engaged and informed; be it in the form of 140-character snippets, video and images, or long-form prose, in order to become a thought leader in their spaces. Whatever the language change is, it’s critical to understand cultural differences and remain relevant to your audience — wherever they may be.
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