I can’t stop! Every time I sign on to Facebook or other social media, I find myself exclaiming! (Taking a deep breath)
O.K. Time to calm down and get a hold of myself. We have become a nation of shouters. At least, when it comes to our online experience. If your friend is having a birthday and you drop by Facebook to drop them a note, the pressure mounts to use the dreaded ! After all, if you just type “Have a great birthday.” and everyone else is typing “Have a great birthday!” it suggests you don’t care as much. After all, all their other friends are practically shouting from the rooftops. And you? With your monotone typing? Pleeeaaasseeee!!!
The problem is, I’ve been raised to use the ! sparingly, if at all. F. Scott Fitzgerald is famous for saying, “Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.” And he’s right. While I am truly joyed at wishing a friend a happy birthday, I’m not shouting it. It’s like the use of LOL, laughing out loud. I know most of the people who type those in messages to me and I’ve never known them to do it in public.
Lynne Truss says, “In the family of punctuation, where the full stop is daddy and the comma is mummy and the semicolon quietly practices the piano with crossed hands, the exclamation mark is the big attention-deficit brother who gets over-excited and breaks things and laughs too loudly.”
So what’s a person to do? If you don’t join in the ! parade, then it seems you don’t care as much. The biggest problem I have is it tires me out. After reading hundreds of posts, each with a ! at the end, I’m exhausted from all the mental excitement. It makes me long for the days of the misused ; Or too many ,’s used twelve times in once sentence.
From here on out, I pledge to reduce the amount of times I use the ! mark. I swear it!