The Internet has changed how we write

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How and where we write have changed dramatically.

Our writing styles have changed historically due to technological milestones or major events. The most recent technological milestone occurred during the last two decades of the 20th century, i.e., when the Internet emerged. Since the end of the last century, how people write has change considerably.

If you ask most people whether we use more words in our writing than our parents or grandparents, they will probably say that our vocabulary has become poorer. However, the opposite is true.

We are using many more words today than people did fifty or one hundred years ago.

Words like blog, HTML, vlog (video blog), and terms such as #Hashtag, mashup, and social media are relatively new.

Biotechnology, IT, robotics, AI, and computer science have contributed to the expansion of the English language over the past two decades in a big way. IT and AI stand for information technology and artificial intelligence (respectively).

Writing pre and post Internet
Most people today write several times a day. This was not the case before the Internet. We have also developed texting shorthand (LOL = Laughing out loud. BRB = Be right back).

Writing now less formal but more expressive

Many linguists say that the Internet has made English writing less formal. However, it has also become more expressive than it used to be.

A person who writes well today needs to know how to use modern technology effectively. In many cases, this matters more than how many words they know.

When I write an article, I use a grammar checker, word counter, and I carefully select my fonts. Sometimes I use my word processor’s synonym and antonym tool. I place images, graphs, and videos.

One hundred years ago, placing an image in a text took a long time. First, you had to find the right one, and then know how to place it. Playing around with text layouts and the positioning of images and videos was not possible.

The Internet – a colossal library

When we go online and write today, we have access to a virtually infinite library – the Internet. We can broadcast or disseminate information to readers, viewers, and listeners anywhere in the world. We can also do this whenever we like.

Before the advent of the Internet, writers had relatively little information at their fingertips.

The speed at which we access data today, and its sheer volume have altered our writing styles significantly.

We have also adapted our writing to what readers want. A typical reader today does not like very long articles. Most online newspaper articles are much shorter than they were fifty to one hundred years ago.