Study: We’ve Been Doing Sarcastic Texts All Wrong

I always thought publishing a Tweet with no punctuation was a good way to make it read sarcastic. Turns out those of us who use punctuation in text messages are perceived as insincere — at least, less sincere than those of us who skimp on the grammar.

A new study, “Texting insincerely: the role of the period in text messaging,” had 126 undergraduates evaluate a series of text messages ending in an affirmative one-word response, with or without a period at the end. Identical responses (e.g. “Yeah” and “Yeah.”) were rated less sincere if they ended in a period because correct punctuation is obviously just a formality.

Periods are literally the default setting of expressing emotion or conclusion in any conversation. We need more capacity for self-expression if we expect progress toward a better future in which we will never have to actually talk to anyone.

Best case scenario is a future global lexicon of exclusively emoji. Language will have been eradicated. All nuance, the scourge of human communication, will end. As will war. And famine (since they recently added the taco emoji).

I for one welcome this next evolutionary step in written communication. Some may say our handling of an increasingly globalized world is alienating and will continue to have horrifying consequences. But doing whatever it takes to come off as totally chill and casual, even sacrificing complexity and structure, is actually good.

But not all punctuation is bad, according to this new scientific discovery. Exclamation points make us sound super sincere! Lead researcher Celia Kiln explains: “Given that people are wonderfully adept at communicating complex and nuanced information in conversations, it’s not surprising that as texting evolves, people are finding ways to convey the same types of information in their texts.”

That’s why it will be ideal if instead of language, we just use emojis. We won't need to worry about punctuation making us look elitist if we just talk with emoji. Pictures are always better than words. Anyway, I don’t know when they decided a picture is worth a thousand words, but with inflation being what it is today I bet a picture is worth way more now. It's almost like talk is literally cheap.

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