The intent of this paper is to analyze the impacts of social networks on construction of English language. According to Pop Culture Universe, ‘Social network is an umbrella term that refers to all online communities or publications that foster and encourage conversation between users and allow them to develop critique, publish, and interact with a vast array of online content.” More importantly, it acts as a watchdog to the surrounding world. It was evident that English was originated and advanced due to social networks and social networks became prolific because of English advancing as a global language. It is similar to the paradox of the evolution of an egg or a chicken. However, it is a dynamic trend.
Some fifty years ago, the term of “Social Network” was unknown and unpopular. It had begun to be known as a common knowledge for a need and an entertainment for everyone as a medium of communication system. Thus, it is preponderantly significant to view its impacts both on a need and want of the users. In 1978, the first social network created was Bulletin Board System (BBS) in 1978 by Ward Christensen and Randy Suess. Geocities was launched in 1995 by Beverly Hills Internet (BHI). The SixDegrees (1997). The 1999 was a year for blogger and live journal and then launched Friendster in 2002. Others such as mySpace, linkedIn and wordpress were launched in the same year, 2003. The latest social networks were facebook (2004) by Mark Zuckerberg, youtube (2005) by Jawed Karim, Steve Chen and Chad Hurley, twitter (2006) by Jack Patrick Dorsey, Google (2011) by Sunder Pichai and pinterest(2012) by Ben Silbermann.
Since the concept of social networks itself is broad, so are its impacts. The impacts can be seen on various features of English language. As both social networks and English language are equally essential in advancement of acquiring information and learning, its impacts have or will be, by far and wide, huge and diverse on learning of English language. People depend upon social network as a source of information and a means of communication, the level of its impacts would have solely depended on the degree of seriousness of the users. The purpose of this paper is to provide the perspectives on the impacts of social networks on construction of English language relying, as a secondary source, on the research paper; “The impacts of social network on students’ English language” in Azerbaijan ( Abbasova, M. 2016) at Khazar University based on four sections such as vocabulary, grammar, listening and speaking, and reading and writing. However, their model of research paper can be helpful in determining the trends of impacts of social networks contextually in general. The intended outcome of the research paper “The impacts of social network on students’ English language” in Azerbaijan (Abbasova, M. 2016) at Khazar University shows that the positive impacts are greater than the negative impacts. The research based on quantitative questionnaires method on the sample of 104 students. Questions based on four sections such as vocabulary, grammar, listening and speaking, and reading and writing.
The overall finding from the indications of the vocabulary section, he concluded that the positive impacts are greater than the negatives impacts with more than 50% of the respondents agree that they use rich vocabulary while texting messages with the public. Whereas, from the grammar section, he found out that the majority of the respondents agreed (strongly agreed 26.92%; agreed 34.62%) that while reading any text in social networking they pay attention to the sentence structure despite the common notion of the people that social networks still affects their English language grammar negatively. From the questionnaires on the strand of the speaking and listening, with 36.54% of the respondents that they gain courage after having a chat with an online English speaker some 33.66 % slightly agree that they can understand native speakers’ pronunciation. However, it shows that students of Khazar University can able listen and speak better with help of listening to events on social network and news in English. As per the findings of the reading and writing section, 31.73% of the respondents responded that using internet abbreviations sometimes affects students’ writings negatively. It is found out that most respondents use shorter words and abbreviations to cope with the speedy writing skill. Thus it results to creating errors as cited by Craig (2003) that while using social networks, students build undesirable habits reading and writing using abbreviations and high-sounding words that ultimately spoil the students’ formal literacy skills. Finally, Milana Abbasova (PhD) concluded that social networks, however, have positive impacts in students’ academic learning especially in the areas of vocabulary development, pronunciation improvement and development of speedy reading skill on the net. However, it is found out the writing skill is affected the most. To address this issue, it is recommended to use the information and communication technology virtually and healthily. The use of abbreviations in their academic writings must be discouraged.
To address the debatable issue such as the impacts of social network on construction of English language, it is indispensable to relate the people’s perspectives on the purpose and dedication of the users. Thus, the student’s approaches with both mental and behavioral pattern are equally important in their social leaning particularly through use of social networks. Therefore, it is vital to relate their approach to learning with relative social learning theories. According to Bandura (1977), in his social learning theory, he states that the new behavior and information can be acquired by observing, imitating, and modeling. Bandura, (1977) further argues that social networks draw the interests of the participants through each other’s comments, and through such feedback they could develop hypothetical thoughts about the adoption of new behavioral patterns. In line with Bandura’s social learning theory (1977), Ginsburg et al (2006) argues that experiences of the social network- users depend on the social learning such as online participation.
According to Asad et al (2012) students’ academic learning outcomes can increase when their social learning outcomes were intensified (p. 501). Students rely on social networks for finding information for academic purposes. Thus, it helps them keep engaged among themselves by seeking, exploring and testing ideas. (Gremu & Halse, 2012) state that digital social media like facebook, twitter, and google have greater impacts upon education than the conventional webpage. (Eastment & Boyd (2007) remarks that most teenagers and young adults can especially keep touch with social network sites such as on facebook on cell phones to keep connected with their friends, share information and display their identity in social lives.
As it is already mentioned earlier paragraphs that impacts of social networks depend on the intended and purposeful choice and use of its sites, it is rightly stated by Harwood & Blackstone (2012) that teachers can even engage in students’ facebook forums through academic comments and discussions in which they would become self-conscious and avoid making unnecessary mistakes in their writing. For instance, sharing of quotes and thoughts. Unless a cell phone is used for unproductive or unhealthy purposes, the social networks can be a whole lot resource for students and academicians especially for second language learners such Bhutanese. In Vygotsky’s (1978) social development theory, it advocates that even traditional teaching and learning processes get replaced by the student-centered approach to learning, depending on social network sites. In favour of students’ creativity and to be friendly users of social networks, Kern (1995) supports that social networks help students subside the anxiety and develop the sense of participatory likelihood and motivation, and help them to enhance their language production.
On the other hand, as a coin with two opposite sides, it also does have some negative impacts. According to Bunce (2010) chat-room interaction was less effective for language learning than face-to-face oral interaction as “slow typing can considerably hinder language production, negotiation, collaboration, and therefore noticing.” Further, Herring (1996) says chat takes place in the written form with informal speech with shorter, improper and incorrect sentences. There are some general misconceptions on chat-users that they most often avoid full meaning-making sentences. Thus, ideas are left incomplete and incomprehensible. Therefore, (Crystal, 2001) reports that 80% of the information in published log data were five words or fewer in length. The same issue was addressed by Hezili (2010) in his research that most chat participants ignore the grammatical features such as copulas, subject pronouns, and articles. The day-to-day use of misspelled words and spelling errors can be the stumbling block to improving the ability of students’ effective communication and writing academic papers.
In a nutshell, the influence of social networks on English language, specifically on categorical strands such as reading, writing, listening and speaking is immensely broad. It is much to say that how they view the perspectives on social network sites. Although, their notions on using social networks may differ at the individual level from the public level, the impacts may lie in their hands. As the world progresses from tradition to modernity, to the world of science and technology, it is the time to see the positive aspects of social networks as an opportunity. It is the time to display positive advocacy, despite the fact it is seen to have negative impacts too if it is not used wisely. Let the perspective be through professional and academic purposes. According to Gremu & Halse (2012) it is stated that the teachers can provide an open forum to the students to learn informally by seeking, exploring and testing ideas with other students within their own social network keeping the convectional norm of the discussion in place.