In case you were not familiar with them, here are the new Internet grammar rules: periods are so unfriendly. It appears that computer-mediated-communication (CMC) is now perceived as verbal communication; therefore, worrying too much about punctuation and grammar rules might cause your friends to unfriend you.
Computer-mediated-communication is usually so fast that we rarely stop and wonder whether interlocutors follow certain rules or not. And yet, there is always something that governs our online interactions and tells us we’re being too impolite or, on the contrary exaggeratedly friendly. Otherwise, you will end up all your Skype conversations like me: with a fight.
Apparently, what I was doing wrong all along was being a grammar Nazi and neither of my online friends appreciated it. A recent study by researchers at the Binghamton University has come to this conclusion after asking 126 teenagers to take part in a funny experiment. Scientists chose these respondents because they are more representative for Internet users.
Participants were asked to look at two variants of an excerpt from an online communication and decided which one of them is friendlier. In the first communication, one of the interlocutors replied with sentences followed by full-stops, whereas in the second example the periods were eliminated.
According to participants, using periods in computer-mediated communication makes you look like a heartless, insincere robot. One thing you might want to consider if you’re trying to hook someone up on the Internet.
Scientists tried to understand why online users no longer feel the need to use periods at the end of their sentences. Their analysis has revealed them that CMC interactions are just as fast as verbal communication; therefore, using correct punctuation marks does not seem normal to the other users. Moreover, the tone of the voice, as well as other non-verbal elements can be easily understood through CMC, so there is no need for punctuation.
When comparing their new results with the ones from the past, researchers have come to the conclusion that there have been significant changes lately. More specifically, the exclamation marks that were once regarded as threatening and annoying in online communication are now friendlier than the insensitive full stop.
There is no need to worry, if you’re a grammar Nazi, as these rules seem to function only on the Internet. Interlocutors are aware that they have to adapt their writing style to context, so they will most certainly continue to use periods, when circumstances ask for it.
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