421 Followers
371 Following
Ceridwen

Ceridwen

You kids get off my lawn. 

The Period is Pissed.

"Punctuation in Rapid Text Media" would probably be a less click-baity title for this article. What's funny is the comments section - and I know, never read the comments section - full of idiots saying they "disagree" with the observation that punctuation is used differently in instant messaging than it is in formal, or even informal, text based conversations. No one is saying punctuation rules should be thrown out in the newspaper or even a blog post. A friend who works with teens reposted this link with the observation that she always thought it was weird that her students conducted love affairs and break ups over texts; the medium seems so without nuance. But, turns out, kids are signaling tone in ways old people weren't getting, but now we're onto you!

 

The observation that the tone is conveyed in novel uses of punctuation is not something to be agreed with, pearl clutchers. It is a way of understanding how people convey meaning, often in new and weird ways. As much as I like to make fun of young people - get off my lawn - it irks me no end when the prescriptivist grammar warriors pop off about the rules, blinding themselves to the fascinating ways people find to communicate with one another. These IM nuances are also cool because, on some level, they are designed to keep outsiders from understanding the full conversation, at a deeper level than the p911 or PIR of yore. The kids are a'ight, yo. 

 

Anyway, just as a side-observation, I think the post style of the comment field has a lot to do with site cultures, which is something I noticed when I defected to BookLikes from Goodreads. The facebook-style return-post kinda bugs the shit out of me on a book site like Booklikes, because I think it indicates and encourages brief, topical exchanges. I don't care on facebook because everything on facebook is topical bullshit, but I do, often, want to talk about books in a less bullshitty manner. That my arguments get posted - often through my own stupidity, I admit - well before I make my point is seriously annoying,That I can't edit said boner comments is also annoying. It leaves up my grammar errors and typos for all time, and when I hit return instead of shift-return, wreaks the sense of the sentence. I seriously hope this is something that will change here, and that we'll get more robust style options for comments in the future.