The perils of social media

Previously I have blogged about why PhD students should use Twitter.

This post has been motivated by a great post on spelling and grammar by Peter Matthews.

One of the common criticisms of social media is that it encourages, or at least tolerates, poor spelling and grammar. As such universities should steer students away from participation in social networking.

Another criticism is that by promoting the use of social media academics are potentially opening themselves, and their universities, to negative publicity.

The first thing to recognise is that social media is inherently social. In social settings we may all adopt a more casual form of language. So I don’t think we should be too strict about spelling and grammar on Twitter or Facebook.

The issue for me is where the rather lax rules of social language are applied in inappropriate settings such as a formal letter, email or student essay.

In terms of organisational risk I can’t help but think that this is to miss the point. Social media is out there. And surely there is more to lose by sticking your head in the sand.

So we should be actively encouraging students to use social media more-and we should support them to use it better.

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