Wassup Wit Dat!

Confusing 'Tone'

October 12th, 2015

In dis day and age of digital conversation, people no talk face to face anymore.

It's such an anomaly dat people can't even look people in da eye wen in person and even moreso feel 'uncomfortable' wen people do. Behind da computah, you can't notice tonal fluctuations, facial expressions nor da evah elusive body language.

As digital evolution has it, wat we have in place now are emoticons to 'express' how one's tone is supposed to come across since we can only literally take it face value. Written sarcasm can't be fully trusted to be sarcasm but you know wen someone is YELLING.

But we are human. We 'read' it as how we perceive da words to be which tends to rub people da wrong way quickly sometimes since, well, we're not face to face.

In business, you need to be especially aware of da ramifications of such 'emotion' whether you know it or not especially if you're a person in position of frequent customer contact and even moreso if you one manager. I was shaking my head at da (redacted) email I recently received:

From: xxxxxxx
Sent: xxxxxxx
To: Lance Kwon
Subject: Address update

Aloha Lance,

Apologize for the multiple responses to your move, but I wanted to double check!!! Did you folks close the Big Island office and move to Oahu or is it still operational and now you’re HQ is Oahu???
Also can you update my info as I have the following in my database for xxxxxxx LLC!
Appreciate the updates and patience 🙂


Business Development Manager


From: Lance Kwon
Sent: xxxxxxxx
To: xxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: Address update

There is a xxxxx Inc. on the Big Island but xxxxxx LLC is a company apart from xxxxxx Inc.

Please remove xxxxxxx as she is with xxxxxxx Inc. The rest are with xxxxxxx LLC.



Aloha Lance,

Appreciate the clarification…..so both are companies but no longer affiliated???
Have removed xxxxxxx and have her with xxxxxxx, Inc.


You may not have it in caps but when you use three exclamation points in a row along with three question marks in a row, you can't help but interpret dat as 'yelling'. And das coming from a "manager".

Wassup Wit Dat!

And then I started to chuckle cause I was just imagining him if he was standing in front of me face to face saying all dat he wrote above along with wat kine of facial expressions he would have saying things like, "Apologize for the multiple responses to your move, but I wanted to double check!!!"

Picture it for a moment.......... too funny.

Are you an emoticon user? Do you add multiple smiley, sad and angry faces? Wat are your digital pet peeves in regards to "conversation"?

Posted in WWD! | 8 Comments »

8 Responses to “Confusing 'Tone'”

  1. Cook 'Em:

    Not even one exclamation point is appropriate for business email, unless it's to describe an over-the-top, extraordinary circumstance. Exclamation points are fine in personal email. A question mark should be a singleton for business email. Some of the smartest folks I know diminish their business credibility by using poor punctuation and inappropriately casual communication in email. Love emoticons for personal email. Have you seen the little pile of you-know-what that looks like brown soft-serve with eyes?

  2. kamaaina808:

    I use smileys if available to convey 'tone' since words on a screen can get taken entirely wrong. IRL, my face no lie how I feel, so no need. 😀

  3. Cojef:

    Used to communicate on the Internet with extensive use of cartoon characters which were in an accumulated file. The fancy grew old and when in a rush stopped using them. Delete all of the emoticons. Guess being makule has a lot to do with the change.

  4. rayboyjr:

    Hey Braddah Lance ... when I first read through the e-mail, it appeared ok to me ... then I saw your comments about the punctuations ... and then I realized, I read through it without really noticing the punctuations ...

    ... in the context of the message being conveyed ... and the polite words like aloha, mahalo, appreciate, apologize, etc. used throughout ... I really didn't take it as the person trying to convey yelling or an argumentative tone ...

    ... then again, I'm probably a glass half full kind of guy ... so things like this wouldn't bother me ...

  5. rayboyjr:

    ... I don't usually interpret 3 punctuations to mean that you're yelling ... I always thought it was used as emphasis ... so if the original thought wasn't meant to be angry or irritated, then the three added punctuations do not necessarily mean yelling in the response...

    to me, this is not yelling ...

    ... I dinged your car. I'm so sorry!!! ...

    ... You sure you don't want a ride??? It looks like it's going to rain ...

  6. mows:

    I say what's with the overused punctuation. Maybe too much COFFEEE!!!!!!!

  7. Tita Girl:

    I don't go over the top when I communicate with my crew. However, I do communicate that I EXPECT a response. I usually place in the subject field 'Action/Response Required by Oct._________, 2015. That usually does the trick.

  8. 9th Island Girl:

    I sometimes use the three in a row punctuation with people I know well in a business setting, because I guess I would say I'm a pretty loud, animated speaker, and the punctuation matches my speaking.

    I didn't read the email as offensive at all.

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