In this digital age, information is so accessible and travels so rapidly, a single piece of writing can cause global shock waves.

Although you may not consider yourself a “writer,” the text message you sent earlier is all the qualification you need. In today’s world, proficiency in writing is more important than ever, evidenced by the widespread popularity of online communication. The internet has made our writing visible. Through email, social media, website forums and more, we regularly express ourselves without using our vocal cords. That’s all writing is: the imperfect translation of swirling abstract thoughts into precise nonverbal language for the purpose of expressing an idea. Yes, even a 140-character tweet counts. But if the idea isn’t articulated well, it could be misinterpreted.

Ironically, the ease of modern communication necessitates a heightened attention to detail. Computer and phone screens lack tone of voice and body language, both of which are significant elements of in-person conversation. It’s difficult to express things like emphasis and sarcasm without them, opening the door to ambiguity and confusion. A common example demonstrates the nuanced power of emphasis: “I didn’t say you stole my money,” could have 7 different meanings depending on which word is stressed. Precise language becomes crucial when a conversation loses the benefits of face-to-face interaction, making writing skills all the more valuable. I can’t resist adding this example to justify proper grammar usage:

“Let’s eat Grandpa.”
“Let’s eat, Grandpa.”
Commas save lives.

Of course the importance of good writing extends far beyond basic online conversation, as vital as a carefully worded Facebook status is. Producing quality writing is a practiced skill that’s useful regardless of age or profession. University admission departments base decisions largely off application essays. The increasingly competitive job market favours candidates with well-written cover letters. Email continues to dominate office communications; how many careers don’t require some form of online presence? The capability to express oneself with accuracy and eloquence is invaluable.

High-quality writing also lends effectiveness to persuasion, especially on heated issues. Now more than ever, influential online articles have large-scale potential. In this digital age, information is so accessible and travels so rapidly, a single piece of writing can cause global shock waves. Thanks to the far-reaching nature of the internet, writing can function as a means to shift views and beliefs of entire populations, altering the proverbial landscape.

The rise of online communication has made writing more universal, visible and powerful than ever. Accordingly, writing skills continue to climb in value, regardless of who the writer is or the scale of their audience. Everyone can afford to improve their craft, because in today’s world, we’re all “writers.” Authentic self-expression goes a long way.