Has the Power of Language been Compromised by the Influence of Social Media?

Saleh M. Al-Salman


In discrete linguistic terminology, the power of discourse hinges on hedging together a host of key elements including conversational maxims, speech acts, situational context, reference, pragmatics, and language functions. The main instruments which lend power to these elements feature an elaborate array of lexis, grammar, phonology, and graphology. Another source of power in discourse resides in the personal characteristics of the participants/interlocutors in persuading and reaching out to their audience. In the last decade, however, the pure linguistic influence on discourse has been minimized and challenged by the growing power of social media in shaping and influencing all discourse types.

This study investigates the role of social media and its networking websites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. in influencing discourse. The study builds on the hypothesis that the different modes of social media communication have been effective in determining an individual person’s or a party’s power of discourse. Social media can create an alternative source of power which supports the creation of ideologies, cultural attitudes, and political views.

The data for the present study have been compiled from materials and information shared on You Tube, Facebook and other social networking applications. The data have also been drawn from tweets on political, social, cultural, human rights issues, presidential campaigns, recent waves of immigration, etc. The data were analyzed to show how the sharing of social media memes has done the work more efficiently than the most linguistically eloquent discourse.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/selt.v5n2p172


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