I apologize to my readers who were offended by my comment in today’s post regarding people looking like goons when they use multiple exclamation marks and/or writing in all caps. Admittedly, I am the punctuation police. I’m an English teacher; that’s part of what they pay me for. My comment was meant to refer to bloggers who chose to use massive quantities of exclamation marks to suggest excitement. A punctuation mark is not pepper: adding more does not make a piece of writing more spicy. A punctuation mark is a light switch. A clause is either exclamatory or it isn’t, just as it’s either asking a question or making a declaration. There is no middle ground. In my (loudmouthed) opinion, writers who publish their writing should take the time to do it properly.
That said, if a person is writing on Facebook or another form of social media, clearly most rules are null. Like text messages and notes passed in class, means to communicate between friends are not necessarily governed by the guidelines of proper English grammar and mechanics. If you’re joining us here on Blue Speckled Pup from Facebook, please know I love you and don’t pick apart your writing about your life. The same goes for comments left here on my little blog. Your punctuation, spelling, or whatever isn’t relevant in those scenarios: you’re just sharing your experiences and opinions with the world, and that’s fine.
I think of it like this: writing is like playing the guitar. If you’re playing the guitar in your own house or for your friends, no one really cares how technically well you play. Facebook is the equivalent of spending time with your buddies around the campfire, strumming away. Publishing writing, on the other hand, is like putting on a little concert or a really big concert if you are lucky. Folks you don’t know will come to see what you’re about. If you don’t know how to play that thing when people start showing up, that’s a problem and you lose credibility very fast.
I guess my clarity suffers when I’m tired and excited about new clothes. It’s a good thing I have small feet if I keep insisting on cramming them into my mouth.
You are lovely people.
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