That’s rude, period.

I’m thankful blogging is clearly a written medium and not something existing in the netherworld of texting and chatting, and I’ve got a new reason why.  Folks at Binghamton University (NY, just north of the PA border) performed a study in which they presented the participants with several exchanges, either text messages or handwritten notes.  Some exchanges were filler exchanges; the other 16 were the experiment.  All 16 existed with two variations on the reply: with or without the period.  Each participant got eight with and eight without period.

It turns out that in text messaging, participants assigned a small but statistically significant difference in sincerity to the two messages, with the message with the period rating as less sincere.  The difference in the handwritten notes wasn’t statistically significant.

That’s some cause for concern for this chronically punctilious speller, but what’s perhaps more concerning is that with 1 being “very insincere” and 7 being “very sincere” on their Likert scale, the average ratings all hover around 4, “Neutral.”  Either it means participants couldn’t tell the sincerity of the message (“I dunno…”), they didn’t care (“I’ll just check the middle and get some easy course credit”), or just didn’t expect people in general to be sincere in their communication.  (The handwritten notes scored around 4, too.)

The take-home message appears to be to turn off that autocorrect and just bungle your texts.  u no waht i mean…

2 thoughts on “That’s rude, period.

  1. thduggie Post author

    They only tested final punctuation – no, only the final period. Jury’s out on any other punctuation, though of course intraphrase punctuation does potentially offer the same nonverbal cue possibilities that the final full stop does. But I wouldn’t worry about run-on sentences in text messaging. The abbreviated nature of the medium takes care of that, and if it doesn’t, there’s the 160-character maximum.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *