Researchers at Binghamton University had 126 undergraduates read a bunch of text messages. The main finding? Ending our texts with a period makes the message recipient doubt our sincerity. A period makes us sound less friendly in our online speech pattern.
However, overusing exclamation points to sound like a poorly-written brochure can have the opposite effect by making our texts seem more genuine, and more heartfelt. Aww!
Even using no punctuation at all is preferred to using a full stop. Better to sound ungrammatical than to end a line of text with a period and make everyone suddenly doubt us. As The Washington Post reports:
According to [Binghamton University researcher Celia] Klin and her fellow researchers, that's an indication that the text message period has taken on a life of its own. It is no longer just the correct way to end a sentence. It's an act of psychological warfare against your friends. In follow-up research that hasn't yet been published, they saw signs that exclamation points — once a rather uncouth punctuation mark — may make your messages seem more sincere than no punctuation at all.Periods are an act of psychological warfare in the texting world? Wow, I thought they were simply there to end mercifully a sentence full of misspellings and emoticons. So, what should we make of this study in the modern, under-35 workplace? I mean, do we trust the ghosting generation to be the definitive source on texting etiquette? And where does proper spelling rank on the list of desired texting traits?
With Millennials taking over the workplace, it may be time for the rest of us to take our texting up a notch. Go ahead, make each text to your Millennial co-workers sound over-the-top...exciting! There isn't just a status update meeting at 2. There's a status update meeting at 2!!!
Of course, an absence of helpful punctuation can leave hilarious room for ambiguity in cyberspace. Punctuation makes all the difference in meaning. I may not sound as sincere by continuing to include commas, correct spelling and the occasional semi-colon (no, really), but at least I can feel like I'm not being sloppy and misunderstood. Period.
Just text whatever way you want. Does it matter? It's just texting; it's not like it's even real communication. And I mean that sincerely.