Large, Red and Bold: Is This Shouting Too?
November 13, 2008 by Judith
Many online forums and Blogs allow users to post messages with added smileys and to format their text for font, size and color. Many a forum/message board participant have contacted me about why other users, when posting in a normally-laid-out post, would then increase the font size, make bold, and change the text color from black to red. To the majority, this is perceived as shouting and they respond in kind.
When the poster is replied to based on this perception, he/she more times than not is surprises as that was not their intent. In my view that is simply not fessing up to what you know you 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!
It seems a healthy chunk of onliners do not understand the nuances of communicating online (I call them eNuances) and that they could be making a statement, and leaving the level of emphasis to be perceived by the other side based on how they choose to format their email.
My Observation: When Internet communication first began, text modification capability was minimal; about the only major change one could make was text case - that’s where the using caps is yelling or shouting came from. Fonts, color and other formatting capability is now commonplace.
The Question: Has the definition of Internet ’shouting’ changed and evolved from being solely linked to all caps?
Intent is intent. Caps means yelling and making things 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 yelling or upset. If you ask anyone to read out loud and e-mail with such 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.
[ 本帖最后由 蚂蚁小弟 于 12-2-2009 02:33 PM 编辑 ]