'Ya' or 'yeah:' How texting's cues are a social minefield

The lack of an exclamation point, the placement of a comma and the way “yeah” is spelled shines light onto what a text message truly means.

So in a world where communication is heavily done over text messaging, Facebook, Twitter and rarely face to face, it’s best to understand what many refer to as text “etiquette.”

For instance, the use of a period or a lack of a period could perhaps indicate the seriousness of the topic being discussed or little interest in the conversation. Another situation is when a person responds solely saying “ya” to a question which many see as indicator that the recipient simply does not want to engage in the conversation.



It may seem silly to many, myself included, but the world is focused towards technology. The importance of eye contact when conversing with another seems to be just as vital as punctuation in a text message. It’s the changing of the world and the intense curiosity of what a text message truly means is always present and often discovered by the way an individual spells a word and the punctuation used.

ASU pre-nursing freshman Courtney Rucker explained “It’s hard to tell what tone the person is using but putting ellipses, italicizing words or capitalizing words implies what they are trying to get across.”

What seems most silly but very common is a simple text with no underlying meaning of uninterest and boredom, is taken in such a way because you respond “OK.” There’s no specific reason for why you used a period, and if you did choose to use a period by which you meant something, you were simply responding. What’s slightly more comical than that is that there is a definite difference in the spelling of “yeah” and “ya” and each one implies a completely different tone.

I've had my own personal experiences where I find myself falling deep into what seems as an anxiety attack trying to decode a message just received. Although I know the text was most likely nothing more than a simple response, I can't help but wonder if there was more to it and exactly what that is.

It’s the age of technology so instead of focusing on in-person communication skills, many have turned their attention to text messaging. So next time you’re about to send that text message, take a second and realize how others may interpret it based off of your chosen punctuation and spelling because your spelling of “OK” might just take the conversation in a different direction.

Reach the columnist at Brooke.Ramos@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @brookesramos

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