Rosie and I were talking about how glad we are to have Brittany back on our social media team. “We just have to solve the punctuation issue,” I said.
“Solve?” Rosie clearly didn’t think I had the mot juste.
“She’s doing some random capitalization,” I explained, thinking that Rosie hadn’t noticed. “Like capitalizing random words in a sentence.
It has always seemed to me that random capitalization is a sign of slight looniness. Letters to the editor of a newspaper that begin with something like, “I Cannot Believe that this kind of Riffraff is allowed to Represent *us* in a *public* Forum…” could just as well be headed with, “I have something very weird to say, and no one I actually know will listen to me, so I am sending this to the newspaper.”
“I want to ask you to consider the possibility that you might be wrong,” Rosie said kindly.
Brittany doesn’t write essays that way, Rosie said, but random capitalization is sometimes correct for social media. “It depends who we’re talking to. We’re not always talking to people who value good punctuation. Sometimes you just want to get an emotion across in 140 characters.”
Rosie suggests that much of this is not a failure to pay attention in writing classes, but rather a desire to duplicate graphic images like the one below, in text only.
So I’m considering the possibility that I’m wrong. I know that Google agrees that punctuation errors are a sign of limited trustworthiness, but maybe we should embrace some different rules for social media, along with new punctuation like #hashtags and @name.
What do you think?