We often stress the fact that academic writing is pretty much a useless activity, and that students who don’t like it should avoid it by all means. What we mean is if you enjoy creating research papers, we are ready to encourage you in every way and provide an endless supply of interesting topics. But if you, like most students, feel bored and stressed, we would like to encourage you a little by proving that academic writing does have a helpful side. And no, that side is not giving you the ability to do a weekly workload in five hours, though this one still is worthy of mentioning.
Academic Writing and Social Media
Have you noticed that most of our day-to-day communication slowly, but steadily, gravitates towards written text? You probably have, since articles pondering why millennials don’t call you, and articles explaining that millennials aren’t jerks, they just perceive phone calls differently, are popping up every day. This topic is obviously important.
So, most of our communication is happening in the realm of written text – messengers, e-mails, comments on forums and posts in social media. In other words, today we create an image of ourselves mostly by text and pictures, compared to the previous century, when an actual presence of a person was required. We often forget, however, HOW text influences the image we leave on the Internet. By doing so, we miss lots of opportunities. Here’s a quick questionnaire for you to prove our point.
Have you ever
- disliked an artist because of his/her posts on social media?
- canceled an order because of the way the company’s social media manager treated customer complaints in the comments?
- switched mobile services because of their social media content and interactions with customers or competitors?
- disliked your “coffee shop barista” crush, when you found hateful language and disrespect on his or her social media?
We bet you have. Such things happen constantly, and posting something harmful to your image on social media is today’s slip of tongue that can offend someone. We are not saying that you need to censor everything you like or dislike – all in all, that will be against the very nature of the Internet and the particular freedoms of speech it gave to us. What we want to say is that polishing the content you decide to share with the world is a beneficial idea for everyone involved. Whether you are going to work at internet marketing, want to promote your own services or goods, or just would like to get a dozen spare likes – academic writing can help you with all of that.
Why Academic Writing Is Useful
Though we hate to admit it, academic writing is actually helpful in real life. Here is a small list of skills and features that will help you improve if you dedicate your time to learn how to write better:
We bet you have seen essays, blog posts and social media stories which lack coherence. How do you know them? If you are left wondering, “so what was it all about?” at the end of the post, the content you’ve just read clearly lacks logic. Texts that lack logic and coherence take a lot of effort to read, because, aside from putting your energy into understanding the meaning of words and sentences (which the human brain does automatically, but it still is a demanding activity), you need to put effort into reshaping the author’s thoughts and trying to figure out connections between them. This is a good thing for your brain, if thoughts are connected. But texts that lack coherence lack that connection, and you are just left puzzled and dissatisfied with the text you’ve wasted your time on.
Another problem that plagues posts in social media and blogs is lack of flow. This skill is somehow contradictory to the first one. Though it also requires logic, flow is a characteristic that makes your reading enjoyable. You can pack your post or essay with logic and facts, and make it completely impossible to read, because it will look like a chronicle. When you list facts without adding your thoughts in the case of personal writing, and your observations in the case of academic writing, you simply create a catalog of those facts, which is not an enjoyable read.
3) Factual information.
This is earned in the hard battle with academic articles. The main thing students hate about writing essays and research papers, apart from a bibliography and putting references, is backing up their point if view. However, when you earn the skill of supporting your view with factual information, you will be able to persuade your customers or friends much more effectively.
4) Reading statistics.
If you haven’t been living in a sealed underground shelter, cut from the outside world and, most importantly, the Internet, you would’ve come across the following headlines and sayings at least once:
- Vaccines cause autism.
- We use only 10% of our brains.
- A goldfish has a memory span of five seconds.
- Bats can’t see.
- Bulls react to the color red.
The list can go on and on. These misunderstandings occur because we don’t check the source of the information and how it was acquired. The second popular reason for twisted conclusions is a belief that correlation equals causation. Regarding an infamous example with vaccination and autism, the belief rises due to a streak of data showing vaccinated children and children that have autism. The percentage was high, so it was immediately stated that vaccination is responsible for this. When you perfect your academic writing skills, you learn to avoid such failures of logic.
5) Art of conversation.
This can be called a side effect of polishing your writing skills. We aren’t saying that the art of rhetoric doesn’t require separate training. On the contrary – we know that every activity that involves working with words, be it writing, public speaking or acting, requires a separate set of skills, different from other activities. But these skill sets do overlap, and if you develop one of them, the other improves automatically. When you learn how to shape your thoughts clearly in written form, doing so while speaking will be easier (minus the fear of public speaking, of course).
How Can You Improve Your Writing Skills
We sincerely hope that now you have enough motivation to do something about your writing skills. What exactly can you do? Here are our suggestions, tested by generations and generations of students.
Passive skill development
- read good writing – blogs, science magazines, websites of big newspapers
- note what you liked about articles and books you fancy
- reread your own posts and papers once in a while to see the progress
- subscribe to bloggers and journalists you like
- give your writing to a friend or a teacher for feedback
Active skill development
- create a pool of good ideas and phrases
- proofread your papers
- write just for practice (we know, this is a tough one)
- pick up morning journaling
- sign up for a writing course, if you can
Do you agree with the opinion that academic writing can be useful in life beyond the college walls? Share your opinion, and don’t forget to structure it properly and back it up with three arguments! 😉