What is this recent infatuation with the exclamation point (!) all of the sudden? It seems that social media has captured this literary tool simply to exhaust it with overuse. It's ironic that times an exclamation point may actually be warranted is when it's used in gross succession, “I still can't believe that happened!!!” Sometimes social media leaves me feeling a bit like a badgered witness and I, for one, object.
Getting over the extensive amount of, “abbreviations” that frequent our favorite social networks was one thing. I've come to accept it. I even admit to playing along despite the cringe in my stomach. But the exclamatory statements from left field, right field, North and South Pole have begun to really get under my skin. If you doubt it being an epidemic, take this scenario for example: One afternoon I had an extensive conversation with a new acquaintance through Facebook instant messenger, that went horribly wrong.
From the very beginning, her messages to me had unnecessary exclamation points all over the place, but who am I to judge? Initially I thought nothing of it until after a few exchanges, she accused me of lacking emotion. Gasp! Now wait just a second, I'm passionate about film and theatre. I love poetry and art. I'm far too dramatic, far too often, and no matter the dress code I can never seem to cover the proverbial hearts that I wear upon my sleeves. So the fact that she viewed me as one who lacks emotion, simply because I chose not to assist her in trampling upon the literary rules and rhetoric that I have come to appreciate, broke my heart.
Yet again social media is demanding that I succumb to its tendencies, in spite of my academic discipline. I say thee nay! Where will it end! When will enough be enough to satisfy the beast that is social media? There's no way to know. There's no way anyone can predict what exactly we've set ourselves up for. This is all still new and most of us are learning as we go along. We now exist in a world where children attempt suicide for lack of a perfect selfie, where cyber-bullying is a punishable crime, and where so many have thousands of pictures and followers but leaders and sustenance are still so few and far between.
What else does social media have in-store for us? What future studies will we have to conduct in order to save lives? What sort of rehabilitation will cure social media addiction? Is such a thing truly necessary? If not, will it be in our future? After fathoming the impending obstacles that may lie ahead, it now seems a few “socially-raised” voices is going to be at the very least of our concerns. Hope I'm coming in loud and clear.
By Andrew Williams