This may be proof that social media is degrading our use of language. Using over a million tweets for analysis, TIME has concluded that over a third of Twitter users may not be smarter than a fifth grader on Twitter.
This research was carried out by using a test called the Simple Method of Gobbledygook (yes, I am too stifling my laughter as I typed that word but it is an actual readability formula), or also known as SMOG, tweets are analysed according to every word’s complexity. According to the SMOG test, only words that are made up of three syllables or more are considered as ‘complex’ words.
Taylor Swift may have written a fantastic article on the Wall Street Journal recently, but her Tweet reading level is only at the fifth grade, similar to Justin Bieber, One Direction, and Jennifer Lopez. Kanye West, a popular rapper, is at the fourth grade.
As for book authors, J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, tweets at the sixth grade level. She is also alongside Stephenie Meyer of the Twilight series, and Mitch Albom who wrote the famous Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven.
By using the ‘Surprise Me’ feature on the tool, the highest Tweet reading level I’ve come across so far is the official U.S. Department of State Twitter account, which is at the 8th grade. I haven’t been able to find any Twitter user tweeting at 9th grade and above.
My guess is that if they are tweeting at that level, they’re probably show-offs.
What’s grade are you tweeting at and how about your other Twitter friends? You can find out by using the tool yourself right here!
And if your tweeting grade is low, don’t feel bad, how many three syllable words can you fit in 140 characters anyway?