I don’t like speaking with people online too often because there are certain things that are hard to detect. Not a lot of people like to use proper sentence structure. That makes it difficult to figure out what they’re trying to say. Of course, there’s the acronyms that everyone likes to use as well. Speaking with someone over the internet and speaking with them in person is like speaking with two different people. Something about communicating face to face changes people’s behaviour.
When you’re chatting with someone over MSN, you’re basically chatting with a computer. Although there is someone sending you the messages, you don’t physically see them. The monitor acts as a barrier between you and the other person. All you see on your screen are words sent by the other person. Words are powerful tools if used correctly. But with day to day instant messaging, they don’t have much impact at all.
When I sign in on MSN, there are times when I’m flooded with greetings. Every greetings are saying the same thing but they’re all saying it differently. It all depends on the relationship I have with the other person over instant messaging.
Party 1: Hey Don!
Party 2: Hiya Don!
Party 3: Heylo!
Party 4: Donny boy!
Party 5: Oi mang!
Party 6: Yo whaddup!
Once I get pass the greeting, there’s a chance that confusion will follow. I type the way I talk. The message that you read on your monitor are the words that I would be saying if I’m sitting right beside you. I am not one to use acronyms because I don’t use them in person. When I giggle or laugh, I say “hehehe!” or “hahaha!” I don’t say “lol.” If someone was talking with me face to face and they said “lol” I would look at them funny and end the conversation right there.
I cannot say the same for the other party though. I’m not sure but I highly doubt that they type the way they talk. Some people’s messages have a lot of misspelled words and improper punctuations. I’m not saying that I’m perfect or anything but if I realized that I spelt a wrong incorrectly, I’ll make an attempt to fix it. Some people don’t even bother and just hope that I’ll know what they’re saying. In most case I don’t and I have no idea what they’re talking about. Some messages can be one long run on sentence with no commas, periods or question marks anywhere. If I have more than one sentence to send and I don’t want to use the period, I send the first message and then send the second sentence as the second message. This way, the other person will know that I’m breaking up two sentences. If you’ve chatted with me before, you’ll know that I use the period all the time. Majority of the time, it’s more than one. They’re called ellipses.
The part that confuses me ever more so is when people ask me a question but state it as a sentence. People who uses instant messaging should learn how to write proper English. Or at least, something remotely close to English. I don’t care too much if it’s not spelt right. And I don’t care too much if it’s the wrong word but sounds like the correct one. Sometimes my brain will decipher the other person’s cryptic message for me so I’ll understand what they’re trying to say. But it’s not always that obvious.
Customer: Hello. You need 8801
Me: Hello! What do you mean?
Customer: You need 8801 route
Me: Is that a statement or a question?
Me: Yes to which one?
Me: I’m sorry, I don’t understand you…
Customer: I have 8801 route
Me: Okay, carry on.
Customer: So, if you need this route you tell me
Me: Oh, I am not the person to speak with regarding that…
Customer: I see
Me: I am only here to help fix route issues..
When you speak with someone in person, you’ll know right away if they’re asking you a question. In just about every language, a question is expressed by a rising tone at the end. Without a rising tone at the end, you’re just making a statement. Online, you can’t hear that part which is why it’s important to use the proper punctuation.