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Texting and the Friction of Writing

38 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2013 Last revised: 27 Nov 2014

Lindsey P. Gustafson

University of Arkansas at Little Rock - William H. Bowen School of Law

Date Written: April 3, 2013


This article begins with a picture of a moving target: a summary of the current state of mobile phone use, with an emphasis on how frequently young people text. The article then covers law teachers’ first obvious concern with texting’s impact on more formal writing: whether frequent exposure to and use of text speak weakens general language acquisition and students’ growth as expert legal writers and readers.

A deeper concern is addressed next: whether the ease of texting will make students accustomed to quick, easy writing, and will thereby compromise students’ ability to use writing to work through and solve problems. Finally, the article closes with a reason to show students that they are already part of a community of writers: it not only may relieve students’ anxiety about learning a new form of writing, it may also give them a greater awareness of their linguistic options and how to use them to meet the needs of their new, law-trained audience.

Keywords: legal writing, technology, texting, informal writing

Suggested Citation

Gustafson, Lindsey P., Texting and the Friction of Writing (April 3, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Lindsey Gustafson (Contact Author)

University of Arkansas at Little Rock - William H. Bowen School of Law ( email )

1201 McMath Street
Little Rock, AR 72202
United States

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