The Descent of Millennial Communication

The Descent of Millennial Communication

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The Descent of Millennial Communication

{ What is happening to our language and millennial communication? }

There is a belief in the fact the descent of millennial communication is real. Now although language is primarily influenced by other languages and the irrevocable knack of the younger generation to spruce it up1, there is not a large appreciation for the direction that our language is recently going towards. Quite frankly there is a concerned outlook.

It’s a rather disturbing, quite disheartening, and borderline embarrassing realization to see that this generation has made a standing joke of how to communicate with others using inane vocabulary. Ridiculous colloquial jargon that is sprouting and being sprinkled all over professional hard copies like Cover Letters or articles on magazines that is understood to be acceptable believe it or not. Memes with notorious words such as “adulting” or adding “AF” in every sentence to emphasize its gravity or constant utilization of acronyms like SMDH or incomplete sentences riddled with grammatical errors is absolutely exasperating. Despite the innovativeness in word play, it isn’t exactly contributing to our intelligence. It has become a mockery and not a humorous one either.

Despite the innovativeness in word play, it's not contributing to our intelligence. Click To Tweet

What is being attempted to explain here, is that there is clearly a heavy discomfort in the fact that so many millennials (not all of course and quite frankly we’ve all been guilty of this) makes the art of communication a complete farce. Literally. And the sad thing is that it’s becoming an accepted norm to speak in not even a casual manner anymore, but one that is rigged with witless argot. Honestly, occasional shortening of words is really not that big of a deal. Nor is the usage of acronyms, especially if it pertains to social media, but when it becomes your normal verbal communication style and is something you adhere to when submitting formal written documents, then that becomes an obvious problem.

That is what is being addressed today.

Sometimes The Modern Alice wonders if the lack of seriousness about the situation can be attributed to insensitivity or ignorance. Maybe it’s the terms itself or how it’s used in context that is vexing, but the severity of the reality is being ignored. True intellect whether it’s in the expanse of one’s vocabulary or knowledge in actual current events is escaping this generation.

How you communicate is a colossal factor when evaluating your acumen in daily matters and intelligence. Now it’s not to say that people need to have memorized Webster’s Dictionary or speak as if they were Shakespeare himself, but at least be cognizant of the way they speak. Words like “bae” or “on fleek” or “twerking” is not acceptable when speaking in a professional setting. Commenting on your best friend’s Facebook picture? Sure, why not. However, speaking publicly or in a corporate environment? Not so much. Which may surprise others because I have actually heard these exact words in the office during a meeting. Ludicrous right?

The fact that this new generation cannot even hold a decent conversation face-to-face is the beginning of the problem. As beautiful and wonderful as technology is and how far it has revolutionized how we operate, it has brought some set backs to the millennials. It’s quite saddening to watch a group of young teenagers or even young adults in their 20’s sit at a restaurant only to communicate to one another via their phones. Or meet someone that was introduced though social media and build a rapport with them online only to be disappointed in their awkward inability to communicate like a normal person. Not to say there is anything wrong with them, it’s just that they are more comfortable speaking via Facebook or LinkedIn messaging. Unfortunate.

An unsuspected result of social media is the sudden notorious usage of abbreviations and acronyms as indicated earlier. Such actions that are derived from texting and limited word count from Twitter has fueled a vital change in how people tend to speak today. Not only that, but conversation that holds no depth or give a new perspective on how to enhance one’s life has become ubiquitous. Mainstream media has also done a disservice by perpetuating this zeitgeist through covering “news” on talentless reality television stars rather than the political matters that are extremely important and need to be in the limelight. That and acknowledging nonsensical words by adopting it in their speeches. Now as mentioned before, not all millennials or publications fall in this category. However, there is an increasingly dismaying amount of people falling into this trap.

According to an article from The Washington Post,

“Millennials performed the poorest in a recent Pew Research Center study of the public’s knowledge of current events. They averaged 7.8 questions right on a 12-question news quiz, less than every other age group. Compared to other generations, millennials were significantly less likely to know which country the United States had just normalized relations with (Cuba), they were considerably less likely to identify a photograph of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and they had a hard time recognizing the route of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline on a map.”

This is a definite concern. Here at The Modern Alice, we are prideful for being part of the digital generation and love to share the success of smart, young entrepreneurs that have become anomalies, role models, and industry game changers. However, there needs to be a movement on the reimplementation of learning the art of proper communication. You don’t have to sound affluent or condescending but even the brightest minds and successful public and/or private figures speak in a certain manner.

You don’t see world leaders or successful business owners that are paving way in their industries, speaking and addressing their colleagues with words like “FOMO” or “Sorry not sorry” and “I can’t even” on a regular basis. They may utilize certain words for marketing purposes to capture the millennials’ attention if they are a targeted consumer, however it is not in their everyday vocabulary. Although their “struggle is real” and their “adulting” is “on fleek” those words will never be a norm from their mouths when describing their days.

Now each generation has their own way of communicating to one another that poses both advantages and disadvantages. This is a lucid concept and known issue. A gap that businesses make a habit of bridging. However, there is still a standard on how to speak to one another that doesn’t make one party sound illiterate. Let’s be honest, having a robust vocabulary isn’t just for show or to sound insulting to another’s intelligence. It does, however, provide a good measurement of reading comprehension and information retainment. According to multiple studies from researchers like Robert Marzano, Nancy Frey, and Douglas Fisher, people with higher vocabularies that use them on a regular basis, show a high correlation between vocabulary acquisition and scholastic as well as career achievement.

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After all, in a world that fancies statuses and images, looking and sounding intelligent will get you a lot farther and propel you a great deal faster in life. Having a wide range of vocabulary is also a testament to your education.

Remember, education is power and words are weapons (whether to advance or defend).
Remember, education is power and words are validation of that power. Click To Tweet

The more that we are masters of rich and vivid vocabulary, the less likely we are to be mastered by the thought of political correctness.2 For removal of words reflects the removal of our ability to think about things that they signify as we think and analyze with words.

So never tarnish your vocabulary. Don’t beget social media vernacular into your daily dialogues, you may permanently incept it and brandish your tongue forever. As Mark Twain warned, “A little is ok, but too much of anything is bad for you.”

(1) Michael Swan, What is Happening in English?
(2) Joseph Pearce, The Decay of Our Language is Happening

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