I receive inquires from forum, group and message board participant asking me about why other users, would choose to increase the font size, make bold, and change the text color from black to red. Being I’ve written quite a bit about this, they wonder if the same applies when not in an email. Is this “shouting” on forums, groups, message boards? Should they respond in kind? (No, here’s the post on that!)
When the poster receives responses based on this perception, he/she more times than not is surprised at the reaction. Claiming the increased emphasis was not their intent. In my view, they just are not fessing up to what they know they did — and meant — at that time.
So, you didn’t “mean to come off that strongly”?
Then, why did they increase the font size, bold the words and turn them red? Those three formatting actions were specifically taken to increase the emphasis of their words. Of course they were making a strong point by doing so! They just did not anticipate the reaction by others to their actions.
Apparently there are a chunk of onliners that do not understand the nuances of communicating online — I call them eNuances. When making a statement in this manner they willingly leave the perceived level of emphasis up to the other side. The reality is that the level of emphasis can vary based on how well those reading your message know you or not.
When Internet communication first began, text modification capability was minimal; about the only major change one could the definition of Internet ‘shouting’ changed and evolved from being solely linked to all caps?
Intent is intent. Caps are a way to add emphasis by “shouting”. Making certain words bigger, bolder and in red type would indicate a strong comment or trying to make a point. Yes, adding formatting when used selectively can certainly add to the impression one is raising their “voice” or upset. If you ask anyone to read out loud and e-mail with this type of formatting, they will almost always raise their voice when reading larger, bolder, red text.
To make type larger, bolder and in red to stand out from the rest of a post is making a point. Otherwise, what was the point — just because? Why make your font bigger, bolder and in red – for aesthetics?
Learning how to communicate without formatting is a true skill and one few make much effort to hone. To be able to communicate with clarity simply by the words you choose and how you choose to use them without relying on bolding, font size, caps or colors is the true sign of a skilled communicator.
Words have meaning and how you type them will relay intent — that will never change.