Social media hasn’t led to death of good English

Twitter. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Twitter. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

As a filmmaker, author and grandpa, I am making a plea for the importance of the written word when it comes to education.

As our means to meaning, words matter, especially in a digital age.

A keen advocate of social media, I don’t hanker for the good old days, yet online or off, the written word is a tool children need.

The web demands rather than diminishes standards; a telling tweet is an art form; as many faux pas in composing 140 characters of prose, with bite and brevity attest.

EBooks and social media make authors and publishers of all of us and many fear an abundance of penny dreadfuls swamping genius. Having published “The Butterfly Boy” and penned a second novel, I don’t take this pessimistic view. “Books are either well written or badly written” applies to an eBook, post, blog or tweet. The internet is no utopia and you post poor prose at your peril.

Words matter even when deployed in new ways and an online feast awaits those who can pen an invite to the party. The ghost at this feast is literary competence and social media does not consign good English to the recycle bin. Online publishing is a platform for young people with literary flair to shine and we have a duty to ensure education does not fail them.

Tony Klinger