Some time before the turn of this last century I began to pay much more attention to my writing style in everyday communications. My email correspondence needed more attention to detail, editing, and focus. This is something I’m still striving to get better at, but some times the constant ticking of the clock inhibits any progress on this particular front.
I also began to try to improve my writing of instant messages. This too is something I’m still working on improving. But I didn’t want to write about my personal goals to improve my writing – but rather on the several styles of writing instant messages that I’ve seen after years of communicating using this medium.
In my experience there are a multitude of writing styles found in instant messaging.
The first that comes to mind is the fast, ill-formed, and often sent instant message style. This style boasts bad capitalization, grammar, spelling mistakes, and very short messages that, when strung together, complete a thought. Here is a quick example:
“you hav to see this”
“i took a picture”
“of this guy outside”
“an he was crazy, lol”
This is, without a doubt, my least favorite writing style that I see used within instant messages on a daily basis. I know several people who send messages exactly like this example (yet this is an example and not an actual message I’ve ever received).
The second style is one step closer to the style that I try to employ, which is a style that boasts longer individual messages, usually completing a thought, but devoid of capitalization and punctuation.
“so I went to the movies the other night saw a good movie with my friends what did you do”
You might think I’m kidding with this example. I’m not. I get messages like this all the time. In fact, this writing style resembles the writing style that my mother uses when writing email, which forces me to put off reading her email until I can force my way through it without throwing something.
Obviously, there are many variations of these first two examples – of which you could probably provide me many cases – but the style that I try my very best to use every day is one that boasts proper capitalization, punctuation, decent grammar, spelling, and completes a thought with each single message. The limitations of instant messaging, on occasion, can make it hard to complete a thought with just one message, but normally it can be done. And this isn’t to say that every message and every conversation I hold via instant messaging are long winded – in fact I’m still very much trying to improve my writing style – but by and large I try not to leave out punctuation and capitalization at all costs.
How do you style your instant messages?