Stop typing periods in text messages and Tweets. (You insincere jerk.)

Time to re-educate yourself in the mysterious ways of the 21st Century.

period text message stop
Gerry Dincher (cc:by-sa)

Punctuation implies insincerity: That’s the conclusion of a study into the use of a period to end text messages—from Binghamton University’s Celia Klin and friends.

Yes, those pesky millennials think you’re a jerk if you end a message with a period. It’s probably true for Twitter, Facebook, and instant messaging, too. So, if you care, stop doing that.

Kids today. Get off my lawn. 

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers think it’s the researchers that are the jerks. Not to mention: Santa rap-battles Dan Bull...

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.
[Developing story: Updated 9:50 am PST with more comment]

Daddy, what’s a “newspaper”? Rachel Feltman writes for one—Study confirms that ending your texts with a period is terrible:

Ending your texts with a period is truly monstrous. ... Grammar be darned, it just doesn't look friendly.

Now a study has confirmed it.

Binghamton University's Celia Klin...and her fellow researchers [say it’s] an indication that the text message period has taken on a life of its own [as] an act of psychological warfare against your friends. In follow-up research...they saw signs that exclamation points...may make your messages seem more sincere.

It's no surprise that language is evolving in weird and potentially scary ways, because language has always done that.

In some parts of the English-speaking world, people don’t call it a period. Ellen Scott illustrates, with Study confirms that everyone thinks you’re a dick if you text with full stops:

They found that the texts that ended with a full stop were seen as less sincere – meaning that if you text ‘sure.’ to an invitation, people will probably think you don’t really want to hang out.

[It’s] excellent for passive aggressive responses, not so great when you’re chatting with your friends.

“Dick”? Umm, I don’t think the researchers used that word. Nor this one, chosen by Timothy J. Seppala—End texts with a full stop if you want to seem like a jerk:

It appears as though those among us who use proper punctuation when texting look like big jerks.

Computer Mediated Communication (email, texting, instant messages, etc..) lacks any sort of the context clues of face to face communications.

So to see what the period meant...researchers had a small group of undergrads rate conversations that were framed either as handwritten notes or text messages.

Keep in mind, however, that 126 undergrads aren't nearly enough to be considered a representative sample by any means.

[Citation needed] The study, Texting insincerely: the role of the period in text messaging, was published in Computers in Human Behavior

Participants read exchanges in which the response did or did not end with a period. Texts that ended with a period were rated as less sincere. ... For handwritten notes, no such difference was found.

Much of the research in this domain has involved large corpus analyses, focusing on the contents of texts, but not how receivers comprehend texts. We ask whether punctuation – specifically, the period – may serve as a cue for pragmatic and social information.

We conclude that punctuation is one cue used by senders, and understood by receivers, to convey pragmatic and social information.

Well, if no period, how about an ellipsis? So asks Your Humble Blogwatcher:

Oh no. Now it's “important” not to use a trailing period in IM and SMS. I give up...

Or how about using three question marks??? Or SHOUTING in caps? Jason Fuller sounds exasperated:

I know, right???

I ALWAYS use periods, so anyone who doesn't like it can shove it.


Update: Well, that escalated quickly. David Urquilla joins in the fun:

It's sounds more like proper punctuation is not "cool", just like a lot of people don't know how to spell because of "autocorrect" and cursive is "old school", period.

Of course, that survey design leaves something to be desired. Matt Ballard self-selects:

Being one of the few millenials in question, I actually love when I get messages with punctuation. I wonder if this study has a sample size or selection bias issue...

126 Binghamton Undergrads. They didn't even ask a good sample of their own student population. :)

Perhaps it’s all about efficiency? Jennifer Kutz cuts to the chase:

Id vote to also stop using apostrophes when its obvious

Meanwhile, Lisa M. Brownlee obeys, yet laments:

Brought to you by they who banned the two spaces after the period

Say it isn't so

And Finally...

Santa rap-battles Dan Bull

You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings, who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don’t have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or
Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon