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It's the onion, but I think it is very poignant. How do you feel about the way we communicate our tone to each other over text based mediums?

It feels a little dumb and arbitrary, that we must use certain punctuation or even emoji/emoticon lest we come off as distant and cold to some people. I remember when "lol" first became a thing, I thought it was the stupidest, most unintelligent way to communicate with another. But nowadays, I use plenty of lols because it no longer just means "laughing out loud", it is a way of setting the tone of your dialog. It is a tool, just as much as c: and ^_^ and ! are. Frankly, sometimes I am feeling a little like a stone-hearted ice witch and I still pepper in my tone modifiers so as to give a good impression of myself.

Do these things even have meaning anymore if they don't really have to reflect how you truly feel? Do they bring real value, or are we just collectively tone policing ourselves arbitrarily? Do you think that is just how our written language has evolved naturally, nothing special about it?

What do you think? ^_^


> Do they bring real value
Definitely!  In fact, the origin of ":-)" was to avoid confusion on text boards that arose due to ambiguity in tone.  


I do recognize the value, I admit that all these tone modifiers are featured heavily in my written speech now. It's actually a really effective way to set your tone correctly!

And yet, I feel like we are losing something by using these things. They obfuscate as much as they explain, I think. I can hide a real life frown behind a :3 in a way that really wouldn't be as easily possible another way. Not only that, but if I'm feeling down, I might feel it necessary to tone police myself using these things, because they are becoming a social expectation. I don't really think we are enhancing communication this way, it feels to me like we are taking away from effective communication in the end. Maybe my problem isn't with the tool itself, but how we use that tool, if that makes sense.


Maybe I'm an exception to the rule, but once I get to know someone, I usually can tell when they are faking being happy for the sake of it, just as I can tell irl.

Some people area lot better at it, obviously, but there's little mannerisms and certain phrasing of words or how short/long their sentences are, that let me know something may be off.


Perhaps you should practice not hiding how you feel.

Our initial gut reaction feelings to things are not wrong, it's how we deal with those feelings that's important. Like I may hate someone, absolutely despise them, but not act on the hate and try to kill them.


I guess you haven't met a talented enough faker. Or maybe you have and you don't even realize it.

It's besides my point anyway, lots of people may not be great at reading others, or might be too anxious about trying to check in on them if they aren't sure.

I actually am pretty good about being open about the way I feel! I find that I struggle more with seeing other people be open about the way they are feeling. Almost everyone I know responds to "how are you/how was your weekend" type questions with the shortest of responses. That's probably off topic though, that's less about language and more about people not being that open or talkative.

So anyway, like I was trying to emphasize with the onion article, I think we tone police ourselves a bit too much. Does "Hey, I had a great time last night, nice to get together. We should do it again sometime." feel off to you? Would you question the sincerity of it (if you didn't know them for always being that unemphatic)? So what is a person who is feeling meh but not wanting to put themselves in the spotlight going to do? They'll probably say "Hey, I had a great time last night, nice to get together! We should do it again sometime! ^_^"

Honestly, I'm not entirely sure what I'm complaining about in this thread. I just feel like we all make our interactions more complicated and confusing sometimes. But maybe it's just me c:


Much of internet communication is strange and non-verbal. You can just post a picture or a meme and express a feeling or desire. It makes me wonder if this is a facet of how humans communicate or something new.

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