Facebook: A New Form of Literacy for the Next Generation?

By Amanda

This post is written by a student in READ 4351 Learning through Literacy. Students in this course are part of the high school and all-level teacher preparation programs and are pursuing certification in a wide variety of subject areas.

Whether you have a Facebook account to keep in contact with friends and family, have a business or educational page, or even had one at one point in your life just to “check it out”, Facebook has become a trend that a person just cannot avoid.  This fad has even gone as far as proving the saying, “Everyone and their mother has one” to be true.  A social networking site, once meant solely for college students, now houses members ranging from kids as young as eleven years-old to adults sixty years and older.  There  is no argument necessary when stating that the majority of people who have a Facebook account spend an immense amount of time and energy on this site.  Students even go as far as posting status’ like “I hope I can stay off FB for just one day so I can study!”  A statement saying, yes I know I need to study for this extremely important exam but for some reason Facebook seems to be much more important. 

With such a large amount of time spent on this social networking site, one has to wonder what skills, if any, do we actually get out of using Facebook so much?  Now there is no argument that can be made about Facebook being a wonderful way of keeping in contact with friends, family, school assignments, and other events going on in our lives however, can one go as far as saying that solid literacy skills can be gained from using Facebook?  Survey says……….NOT! 

Facebook posts do not involve a high quantity of reading, nor quality, for the fact that posts are written in a more relaxed lingo compared with the academic language found in novels, textbooks, newspapers, etc. where the main purpose is to gain knowledgeable information.  You almost never see correct punctuation anywhere on Facebook and abbreviations like ‘LOL, FML, WTF, SMH’ are seen everywhere.  Although one can say reading is reading no matter what format it may be in, the language found on Facebook can be pretty detrimental to anyone’s literacy skills, especially for those who spend a large amount of time on Facebook.  A person may even get so used to using this informal language that all of a sudden when having a face to face conversation with someone, they may feel the urge to say ‘LOL’ instead of just laughing out loud!  Trust me, it happens!

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