Tabitha Norton
English 104
August 29, 2016
The Essay

"The essay is a valuable, even powerful technology that has particular affordances in helping us promote communicative ability, dialogue and critical thinking." This quote from Dr. Adam Banks encapsulat es the essence of an essay in the context of academic writing. Essays are highly potent writing tools as the y allow ideas and thoughts to be widely disseminated with ease ; logically presenting facts and postulating ideologies that serve to educate and inform readers. The ability to compose a well writte n essay is even more invaluable now in a technological age where shorthand, instant messaging and one hundred and forty character posts are dominant and content and c oherence are secondary. As such , u sing essays as the yardstick against which students' communication is measured is even more effective and i mportant than it has ever been. However, the reach and applicability of an essay in the context of the present may not be what it once was.
Primarily, this generation is one in which speed and quantity, not quality , a r e valued . This is evident give n the rise of instant messaging apps which allow the sharing of information in the shortest time possible. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter also pride themselves o n real time updates and constant information streaming. The output vi s ible in the resulting texts , tweets and posts by users is lacking in b oth comprehensibility and substance . The ideas expressed may be shallow and underdeveloped due to the limitations given for posting or messaging. Some may also feel the need to put out as much content as possible, reducing the time spent mulling over the topics being discussed , resulting in numerous insubstantial posts being put out .
Additionally, communication attempts may be hindered by readers ' unfamiliar ity with the slang and shorthand used to combat the character limits which may exis t . Although currently, a majority of youth may understand this informal language, over time , after continued usage , this spills over into academic writi n g . Student lose the ability to express themselves in a universal language and begin to limit themselves to the colloquial expressions of their peers. As such, essay writing is of the utmost importance , as it forces students firs tly t o consider what they wish to express and how they would like to develop their ideas. From there , they are able to properly introduce the ir topic and expound / on what they are presenting in a structured manner which is palatable to and intelligible by all readers. In short, essays are the most way to ensure that students' output is sound and accessible.
By the same token, the applicability of essays at this moment in time should be considered . Information is rapidly consumed in short, ea sily digestible snippets. It ma y not be well expounded upon but it carries an easily r ecognizable main idea which reade rs may connect with and recognize immediately. This form of communication, while dissimilar, is extremely effective and has an extremely wide audience as the consumption is much more effortless.
In conclusion, the essay is just as a relevant a standard in academia as it has always been . While social media allows communication on a global stage, essay writing train s writers to make logical and arguments as well as measures their ability to do the same . However, as the world continues to advance through technology , the appeal of extended writing such as essays has diminished . Therefore, academia should retain essays as its mea ns of measurement while being mindful that essay writing may no longer be the zenith of communication .