Our social relations are increasingly mediated with technology. Does this distort our ability to relate to others? Consider using text messages to communicate. This truncated form of communication most leaves emotion out of the picture and so makes it difficult for message recipients to know how the sender really feels. It also makes it difficult for researchers studying text messages to get the full picture of an interaction that qualitative researchers can otherwise obtain by observing facial expressions and body language and listening to intonations.
But emotions are too important a part of social relations to ignore (with apologies to Star Trek’s Spock), so people have become inventive about using punctuation marks (and of course emoticons) to make it clear what they “really” mean.
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Do “the tiny marks in the smallest spaces …tell us more about the person on the other end than the words themselves”? Read more about it at:
What is your own experience with punctuation and emoticons in text messages? Can you develop a plan for measuring some features of punctuation to better interpret the text? Has there been enough standardization of such punctuation to achieve measurement reliability? How could you validate such a measure?