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The Sincerity of Abbreviated Texting and Its Lack Thereof 

Living in a world of instant gratification, we want everything. Immediately. Packages on a same-day delivery basis, faster Internet connection, the ability to endlessly stream TV, movies and music. We want more followers, definitely not having to wait longer than 5 minutes for a text back and children being attached to their digital devices. Speed and convenience dictate our decisions. Bad service gets bad reviews. Poor looking food does NOT get snapped. Texts that aren’t abbreviated take far too long. Are they even texts at all? 

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Before getting started, it must be made clear. Text messages are changing the English language through adding new words and excluding punctuation. The expectation of immediate results causes a certain loss of sincerity within our communication with others in this rapidly growing world. Because this movement is so fast, we feel like we are constantly in a rush to get somewhere or do something. No one has time to be texting and talking in perfectly punctuated sentences, especially today’s youth. Thus, results in the inability to pour colour and emotions into digital communication so the excitement of explanations in actual English has dwindled down to a few boring words. 

The fact that poor use of grammar, punctuation and proper practice of the English language starting creep into student’s schoolwork is concerning. Studies out of Coventry University in the UK show that there are many violations of grammatical conventions within people’s writing. Especially the integration of auto-correct into our devices means no-one needs to learn how to spell. Capitals are getting ignored and sentences get separated by not standard punctuation marks, but by ironical laughter lol or expressions of emotion with emoji’s. And it’s just going to get worse. 

Sincerity in our communication and relationship with others is an essential characteristic of the personal integrity. Being genuine in life shows people who are faced with the challenges of living in this modern world to develop strong relationships and to respect and celebrate the nature of the individual. The half-heartedness of social media and telecommunications is disrupting interpersonal relationships and the authenticity of interaction. How do I reword that to make it shorter? Receiving texts in abbreviations like ‘BRB ASAP GTG TTYL’, and shout-out to anyone over the age of 40 reading this who probably has no idea what it means, the literal translation ‘be right back as soon as possible got to go talk to you later’, in my opinion, is not English, and catastrophically insincere. Still only be 16 years young, in the midst of this communication revolution, I would much prefer to receive a genuinely compassionate text that the conversation has to come to a finish. 

Is this necessary? However, and yes, there is a ‘but’ to this argument, other studies have shown that actually using proper punctuation and ending texts with a full-stop is just straight up unfriendly. And I can tell you, I know all about this one. My parents still haven’t really caught on to the fact that their texts of ‘How exciting.’ and ‘Sounds good.’ sounds like they are literally miserable and appears like I haven’t cleaned my room for a year. Research by Binghamton University reports that text messaged ending with a full-stop are perceived as lacking spontaneity and are less heartfelt. Conclusions from the experiment show that text messages that ended up with a period were rated less sincere than text messages without. The study settles that ‘punctuation is one of the cues used by senders, and understood by receivers, to convey pragmatic and social information’ rather than the mostly informal use of text messages and social media, as opposed to sending letters or emails. We are compelled to ask, why does punctuation have such emotional power? “Texting is lacking many of the social cues used in actual face-to-face conversations. When speaking, people easily convey social and emotional information with eye gaze, facial expressions, tone of voice, pauses, and so on. People obviously can’t use these mechanisms when they are texting.” Celia Klin said, professor of psychology at Binghamton University. 

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The line between texting and reality has been completely blurred. The line separating who we are online and in person has to be as consistent as possible and not let it take away from the sincerity of our emotions. We have let abbreviations and lazy English become part of verbal communication, thinking it is a sincere way of communication. The social manners of today’s society rely on assumptions of other’s emotions and it is becoming dangerous. Miscommunications and misunderstanding are becoming routine within text messaging, causing communication to be face-to-screen rather than the genuineness of face-to-face conversation. Let’s just hope 10 years from now the younger generation aren’t texting their bosses “can u pls c me?!”. 

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