Exclamation Points, Emoticons, or Just Plain Periods

Recently, my boyfriend brought up an interesting point regarding writers (artists and musicians too) responding to online compliments. Specifically, thanking a person for their comment.

Now, this is something I always had more problems with than anyone should have. I mean, all you have to write is “thank you,” right? Or go a step forward and say something along the lines of “Thank you for your feedback. I’m glad you liked it.”

Except when I write “thank you,” I never know whether to put an exclamation mark, an emoticon, or a good old fashioned period. I try my comment with all three options. Exclamation marks, to me, always come off as way too over-enthusiastic. Don’t get me wrong, I do get very happy over nice comments. But every time I use one, I feel like I’m screaming excitedly like a little kid going to Disneyland. And then, with emoticons, I feel like I’m trying too hard to be hip and cool. It’s not so bad if it transfers over as an emoji, but on sites where that’s not the case… It looks too outdated and almost cringey. In the end, I usually go with a period. Nothing wrong with the tried and true period.

Except there is nowadays? Back when I learned about exclamation marks, before cell phones and the internet, the teacher told us to basically never use them. Only under rare circumstances. Like fiction writing, I guess. That was my assumption. And I went on with that line of thinking. It’s just not professional.

But apparently things have changed in the age of cell phones and the internet. Now I’m hearing that periods sound too serious and not at all friendly. Exclamation marks are good to use, even in “professional” emails. I thought I was the only one who read too far into what punctuation mark to use when responding to comments, and most people didn’t care. I feel like I’ve been living a lie.

But unless I want to come off as a cold, disinterested person, it looks like I’m going to have to get used to using exclamation marks!

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