Thanks to the 'smartphone era', we've all had a text-based conversation that went something like this: "What are you up to?" "Getting dinner." "Are we still on for this weekend?" "Yeah. Of course."
So your plans are still on, but something still rubs you the wrong way. Why do you feel like you're bothering them? Why do you get a sense that there's something wrong that they're not telling you about? Well, research recently published in the science journal, Computers in Human Behavior, suggests that you might be onto something. Something about those texts feels a bit insincere - and you can blame it on the period.
Researchers at Binghamton University presented various text message conversations and handwritten letters to 126 people. Most of these messages were framed as small talk followed by an invitation and reply. (You can find a sample above.) The conversations were then rated on friendliness and sincerity.
Results indicated that messages that involved punctuation came off less sincere than ones that didn't have any punctuation at all. Among those, messages with exclamation points were ranked friendlier and more genuine than ones that only used periods.
So what does this all mean?
Lead researcher Dr. Celia Klin reported that much of this has to do with the way communication has evolved in society:
"When speaking, people easily convey social and emotional information with eye gaze, facial expressions, tone of voice, pauses, and so on. People obviously can't use these mechanisms when they are texting. Thus, it makes sense that texters rely on what they have available to them - emoticons, deliberate misspellings that mimic speech sounds and, according to our data, punctuation."
So basically, when someone deviates with punctuation, misspelling, and emojis, it's akin to frowning, smiling, or raising your eyebrows in real life. So, you know, even though you're using proper grammar, chances are your writing pattern's making you look like a big, fat jerk.
What's your texting style? Do you agree that proper grammar makes people look rude?
Let me know in the comments below, and for more WTF news, follow my WTF Street Journal collection.