Thursday, June 19, 2008

Chat and writing

Is instant message a better writing tool for students? Following the advance of the technology in 21st century, the IM technology is a popular tool for young students. They can not only type the message to chat with each other, but also improve social skills by Internet. Many students think that chatting by instant message will sharpen their writing abilities. In my opinion, however, using IM technology is only helpful for social skills or conversation, because it is a knee-jerk response. In a writing class, students need to focus their attention on grammar, logic, rhetoric and diction.

Grammar, first, lays an elementary foundation for writing. To understand the functions of grammar will benefit people in expressing correct information. Also, the grammar is related with structure and organization in composition. When writers compose an essay, for instance, they need to branch an article into three parts, including introduction, body paragraph, and conclusion. Students will learn how to use the correct grammar, to manage the powerful structures, and to organize the ideas into each parts.

With the grammar element, furthermore, logic is a clear-cut sign of composition. To chat with IM technology, people do not pay attention to think about anything or meaning. According to Lee (2002), teenagers write their composition with shortened words, and employ informal characters like &, $, and @. They use the same thinking model, instead of the one preferred for formal writing at school (paras.12-14). In writing assignments ,however, to exhibit logical expression will play a significant role.If students do not obey the logical principle to write an essay, for example, each idea or purpose cannot be pieced together. They will also jump their central thesis out of the article.

Finally, diction and rhetoric are the crucial ingredients: there is nothing that can be paralleled or on the same parity with them. Reading is the key point to enrich the article before writing at school. To write a compelling composition, the diction and
rhetoric will be like the diamonds that make the content sparkle. Nowadays, students do not pay more attention to enlarging their knowledge for writing. “Traditional ways of thinking and learning are undergoing a “sea change”” (Guess, 2007, para.17). Chatting with IM technology makes it impossible to improve their writing abilities.

Grammar, logic, diction and rhetoric are the critical elements to manage a compelling composition. Using instant message, therefore, is not the royal road to enforce their writing skills. The IM technology only fulfills the need for social conversation for students.


Guess, A. (2007, September 17), Students’ Evolving use of technology, Inside Higher Ed, Retrieved June 17, 2008, from

Lee, J. (2002, September). Nu shortcuts in school R 2 much 4 teachers, NY Times,Retrieved June 17, 2008, from

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