Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Gchat Stylebook

How many times have you had a Gchat miscommunication due to different understandings about grammar, punctuation and accepted abbreviations? And who hasn't nearly lost friends a half-dozen times over confusion about how much sarcasm should be assumed in text-based instant communication? Maybe that's just me, but whether it is or not, I think we should come to a few agreements.

Guide to Punctuation

capitalization In general, avoid capitalization entirely. Avoid capitalizing proper nouns, pronouns, names, nations, titles and anything else that should be capitalized in other mediums. Note that capitalizing I denotes an overwhelming narcissism and should be avoided, unless this trait is something you'd like to convey.

commas In general, avoid commas.

ellipses Gchat convention is to use "..." all the time. To mean anything you want! Confusion, apprehension, your overwhelming emotions preventing your ability to type, anything! i don't know what's going on fri...i don't have plans yet; guys went out last night?; my boss just came in...we didn't get the postage labels going to explode

periods See commas. Actually, refer all punctuation questions not otherwise listed to commas and use that as an overall punctuation guide.

question marks Use single question marks to denote a question. Use ??? or an extended interobang, ?!?!, for confusion and alarm, depending on your confusion-to-alarm ratio. It is acceptable to use a question mark to denote how your voice would raise at the end of a sentence, were you speaking in person. i didn't think he had syphilis?; youre moving out of the apartment?


abbreviations The only rule is there are no rules. Abbreviate anything you want, abbrev.atng/u/wanna. However you want, howyw. omg; lylas; i hart JBeebs

denoting anger and/or frustration while avoiding any actual confrontation The most commonly used convention is to use the response ...ok. Note that ...ok is also commonly used to denote confusion. If you'd like to signal passive-aggressive anger at the beginning of a conversation, use ...hi or ...hey.
whatever can be used in situations where no other options are appropriate.

emoticons Use to indicate lightheartedness when speaking to someone you don't know well, especially with women. :)
Only use emoticons ironically when speaking with good friends, unless you're trying to convey a lower level of intelligence. :/ :)> :( ;)

inquiring about a breakup you heard about but have not yet spoken about in person
Approach this as you would in real life conversation. oh how is judy?

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