Writing Academically on Social Media

As social media becomes a bigger part of our world, it can both harm and help academic writing. The boundaries between personal writing and academic writing are being blurred, as popular media evolves into the main source of information and leisure for users.

It may just be my optimistic tendencies, but I like to think that this technology and media boom makes users write more often and more concisely. Whether we realize it or not, posting on social media is a way for students to write outside of the classroom.

social media.png

In my opinion, the main advantage that social media writing brings to the table is conciseness. This is particularly applicable with Twitter. When someone composes a Tweet, they have to evaluate the information on the topic, and decide the main message they want to put forward. Sound familiar?  

It is also a great chance for students to weigh in on various issues and topics. Students should be able to recognize their opinions and have enough confidence to voice them. They can experiment with different writing styles and genres, and be creative while doing so.

This is not to say that there aren’t people who abuse the opportunity to write on social media, therefore making it detrimental to their professional and academic writing. There are plenty! However, those who use social media rhetoric to their advantage are doing it right.

“If this paper were a tweet, what would it say?”

For better or for worse, social media is here to stay. Politicians are explaining their platforms (and making fun of one another in some cases), news sources are emanating stories by the minute, brands are developing relationships with consumers, and videos are going viral.

We may as well use it to our advantage.

Next time you’re struggling to develop a thesis statement, ask yourself: If this paper were a tweet, what would it say?


Zach Fehrenbach is a senior at John Carroll. He is majoring in Communications and minoring in Spanish. This is his first year as a Writing Center consultant.


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