Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tone Deaf

It will go down in our family's text messaging history. When a simple "O.K." on a missive required hunkering down with The Lord High Executioner over the real meaning behind the scion's response.

Was there something deep and meaningful in A.'s decision this week to respond to an impassioned email with capital letters? Just a few weeks ago, A. had written "o.k." as the solo response. Now he'd written "O.K." Hmmm. Was lower case a stony shrug and upper case a celebratory high five?

It wasn't the first time that a single word response has forced me to consider the writer's feelings behind the message. And you know what, I hate it. I hate cryptic responses because it opens the door to confusion. I have a colleague who writes "Sure" a lot and I still stare at that word trying to figure out the tone -- is she writing with a sneer or a smile?

If you're going to write emails, I suggest you first look in the mirror and see how terrific and approachable you look when you smile. Now when you're in that upbeat frame of mind, start writing. My bet is that your likeability rating is going to go up (and my therapy bills are going to go down).

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