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Dr Caroline Tagg is giving a talk as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences on Tuesday, 4 November 2014 from 18:00, at the Library of Birmingham entitled 'Debunking myths about language and social media'.

There is no doubt that social media has changed how we communicate. The question is: should we worry about these changes? Is our spelling and grammar getting worse? Do we know how to protect our privacy? Does social media push us into talking too much about ourselves? Unfortunately, widespread fears about the detrimental effects of social media can make it difficult for us to objectively weigh up these questions. Drawing on academic research, this talk explains how people communicate via social media and how this impacts on language, privacy and identity. It suggests that social media is not threatening language but enriching it, as people adapt to the unique features of social media by creating informal, expressive and intimate ways of writing. It also explains how social media users exploit language purposefully to ensure their privacy and to present themselves in the ways they choose to potentially diverse online audiences.