Our human relationships have shifted from a personal, face to face interactive mode, to a virtual, sometimes remote ones.
Wait… virtual, sometimes remote? Isn’t virtual always remote? Let’s think about the next situations: families having dinner at a restaurant, and some of them texting to each other, even though they are all there, sharing the table. Or in the car, texting each other in the back seat. Or mom or dad texting or calling someone within the house, because the other family member is in a different room.
If this doesn’t apply to you, you are still using the human emotions through your tone of voice, the emphasis in your words, and other body gestures that come with the message that you want to deliver. However, we are rapidly moving towards a society of written words delivered with mobile devices. And if we intent to include emotions with our text messages, we have to resort to the old punctuation symbols, or the graphic icons in the form of gifs, animated gifs, emojis, avatars or any other graphical representation. Adding such context requires time and sometimes we just need to deliver a plain text message. This is when there is a need to be mindful about the format of such simple line or paragraph, to avoid miscommunications. Here are some examples:
“Destiny is not a matter of chance, it’s a matter of choice”
This simple text conveys a motivational message. If we want to put emphasis in the key words, we can write it like:
“DESTINY is NOT a matter of CHANCE, it’s a matter of CHOICE”
The use of capitalized letters helps to make a bolder statement with the goal of motivating the receiving end to action.
Now, let’s use a different example, where using capitalized letters is not a good idea.
“The numbers you are showing are WRONG! FIX them!”
The combination of capitalized letters and the exclamation sign is basically a representation of the sender yelling at the receiver. Even if the words in the statement are kept the same, changing to lower case and removing the exclamation sign eliminates the belligerent tone that accompanies the phrase.
We spend a lot of time texting these days. Being aware of the basic etiquette can eliminate confusion or miscommunication, which can potentially destroy personal relationships.