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July 29, 2009


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Perhaps someone's mother created that function on Twitter. As a mother, I'm sure Bill's mother would happily create a function that would create messages like "Bill Stoller is now following you on twitter!" After all, young William is the exclamatory apple of her eye.

A mother, or a high school girl. If they could dot the ! with a heart, they would.

Yet another subtle insult from these creeps, acting like I should be so excited to have Bill Fucking Stoller following me on Twitter.

It's more desperation than exclamation.

A friend recently shared a theory she'd heard that men hate exclamation points and that, as a woman in the business world, I should avoid them because men will think I'm overly emotional. Personally, I believe they are over-used, but still appropriate for some things. (Although I agree, not necessary in your Twitter example).

Yes, I think exclamation points are grating, and I take their overuse as a sign of an amateur. Can you give me an example of a borderline call, Ellen?

(If not--no biggie!)

You mean places where exclamation points are appropriate? You use two of them in your last motorcycle post.

No, I'm not saying they're never appropriate; that would be dumb. I mean borderline calls, when you're not SURE whether you should use an exclamation point or not.

Those, it seems to me, are potentially instructive.

Interesting question. Generally, if I'm not sure about using an exclamation point I don't use it, so I can't think of an example at the moment. I also consider the venue and the audience--I'm more inclined to use one in a quick e-mail or text message, for example, than in more formal writing. And since I had the conversation with my friend mentioned above, I'm less inclined to use an exclamation point in a message to a male reader than if I'm writing to a girlfriend or my daughter.

When you write in Spanish...

interesting that we automatically default to the man's standard for using !s, and that it must be bill’s mom who is to blame for the ridiculous twitter comment, not bill.

i wonder if male writers consider using more !s if they are writing to a woman?

in my professional experience, it tends to be men that are more emotional, sending emails with all caps, or bold, large font to make their point. i wonder if this is to be received as too emotional, or just assertive.

WE didn't do anything, K Bosch.

Ellen just decided to to use exclamation points when she's writing to men. That's all that happened here.

As for whose fault the Twitter thing is, it's Twitter's fault--not Bill's and not Bill's mom.

As for using more !s when writing to a woman: I admit, I'm more likely to do say "Thanks!" when a woman does me a favor, and more likely to say a quiet, "Thanks." when a man does me one.

I do this, I believe, because I'm mirroring the communication styles I receive from men and from women.

Of course, it very much depends on the man and the woman.

Don't shoot!

I try to imagine how I would say what I'm writing to help determine if an exclamation point or a period is appropriate. You can say the same thing, but imagine that the inflection would be a bit different with each.

If I can't say something I've punctuated with an exclamation point without imagining people staring at me as if I'd lost a screw, then I'll change it to a period.

Ah, the Over-Enthusiastic Glue-Sniffing Nutter Test.

I like!

The "Over-Enthusiastic Glue-Sniffing Nutter Test"?

I really love that and am so stealing it. (I WOULD have put an exclamation mark here, but now I'm all paranoid about them. I may never use one of them again)

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