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Book: The Five-Minute Linguist

Chapter: 53. How is Language Used on Social Media?

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.38173


Language in social media is much the same as language in other contexts: it exhibits variation that reflects individual and group identities, users shape it to serve their communicative purposes, and it intimately reflects the foundational knowledge speakers have of their language. Yet language in social media is also shaped by other factors, including literacy—navigating social media draws on multiple literacies—and the affordances of whatever medium is under consideration—such as character allotments, reply structures, degrees of publicness, and features such as hashtags. Thus, social media users produce language that is simultaneously “just like” language everywhere else, but also subject to “special” considerations.

Chapter Contributors

  • Lauren Squires ( - laurensquires) 'The Ohio State University'