Archive for February 27th, 2008

Somewhere along the way I lost capital letters and periods in my emails, IMs and other documents.

People started to notice.

Where did they go?

Blackberry, Office 2007, and other software took them from me! That’s right! Authoring software for mobile emails and office documents now does so much for me that it even caused me to stop hitting shift + letter when I start a sentence. Capitalization mistakes appear so frequently in my emails now because my primary email client is Thunderbird and it does not autocorrect.

At first, I thought it was a stylistic choice. Perhaps I picked up on Generation MySpace style or maybe the various companies I consult for conditioned me. I am the next ee cummings.


It took me some time to see it and isolate when and where I lost this behavior, but after going back through documents and emails, I lost it as soon as I got my blackberry 7130 and Office 2007 Beta 2 installation.

I’m not making this up. See Exhibit A, sample pre and post -blackberry and office 2007 emails. See Exhibit B for a primitive mistake frequency analysis.

Months and months and thousands of documents later my typing behavior is altered to the point where my capitalization and punctuation changed by style of communication. The chain of consequences is even more dramatic as people read my notes and docs differently, in a different mindset, with more or less urgency and so on.

Does it matter?

Yes. It does to me as I want to have more control over whether I’m saying what I mean to say. Punctuation, grammar, capitalization and other style guides make it slightly more possible for us to understand each other. As soon as those norms go out the door it’s communication anarchy with emails, phone calls and conversations filled with “huh? What does that mean?”

What am I going to do about it?
Pay attention.
Turn of the auto correct features.
Use my paper notebook more.
Slow down.


EXHIBIT A: Typical Emails Pre and Post Losing Style

Email from 1/21/2004 6:53 AM
Try resetting it to the details below and then test it by logging in as him. (be sure to log out though!)

I’ll call ya from the factory.


Email from 2/18/2008 8:18PM
well, well, well.

time to catch the prowler in a net… i’ll ping him and see what he’s into.


Exhibit B:
From 1/21/2004 – 2/18/2006: 1734 emails composed in sample set. 1.2 capitalization or punctuation errors per email.
From 2/19/2006 – 2/27/2008: 1567 emails composed in sample set. 2.9 capitalization or punctuation errors per email.

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