Book Club: Because Internet

Alt: A doodle sits in front of their laptop holding “Because Internet” by Gretchen McCulloch. The laptop screen shows the same doodle holding the same book in front of the same laptop, and so on and so forth.

As health communicators, we’re always thinking about how to tailor content so it really speaks to our audiences. And as digital products and content continue to reign supreme, that means knowing how our audiences “speak” online.

Think pieces about how the internet is destroying our language abound — but internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch says that what’s happening to English “because internet” is anything but destructive. In Because Internet, McCulloch offers an engaging, research-backed explanation of how today’s digital climate is transforming the English language.

So how is this relevant to health communicators? Keeping up with emerging digital trends can help us create engaging and relatable public health campaigns. Just look at this emoji-based sexual health campaign for teens from NYC Health & Hospitals, or the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s quirky meme-based Twitter feed.

But jumping on every linguistic fad isn’t an automatic win for health communicators — check out this Twitter thread where McCulloch and her followers try to decipher a puzzling emoji-based public health message. As always, dear readers, it pays to test your materials with your audience!

The bottom line: Internet language is here to stay — and Because Internet is here to tell you all about it!

Tweet about it: What do health communicators need to know about internet language? The We ❤ #HealthLit Book Club reviews @GretchenAMcC’s “Because Internet”: https://bit.ly/39xYld4

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