MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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Exclaiming (!!!) the variety of Spark

This week on Spark there were many topics to explore. Although I couldn’t help but read or listen to everything, for sanity’s sake I will give you only the ‘Reader’s Digest’ version. Here are two interesting tidbits:

-An interview with Mignon Fogarty, aka Grammar Girl about all things grammatical. She talks a lot about the overuse of exclamation marks in email writing.
Do you think we’ve taken advantage of the exclamation mark?  Is it unprofessional to use multiple exclamation marks in an email? What about emoticons? I think this is a relevant discussion for PR practitioners.  Please, do tell!!!!!! (grammatical pun intended)

-Spark conducted somewhat of an online experiment in partnership with a website called

Allison Buchan-Terrell writes, “Have you ever been embroiled in a fight you just can’t resolve? You’ve talked to everyone you know about it, but you can’t seem to find an impartial ear. Why not trust the blind wisdom of the online masses to solve your dispute and get a crowdsourced resolution.” allows people to make anonymous postings defending one side of an argument and then the ‘crowd’ gets to decide who the winner is. This is an interesting concept. I’d like to know if Sidetaker actually helps end arguments, or if it just becomes the root cause of many more arguments.


May 25, 2009 - Posted by | Really Relevant Interesting Stuff, Review of Monitored Site


  1. I’m definitely an exclamation mark user myself, which is why the title of this post immediately caught my eye. (I really had to fight the urge to place an exclamation mark just then…)

    I’m quite an enthusiastic person when it comes to talking with people face-to-face, so I feel that when I write emails, wall posts, blog posts, texts etc. that I need to use exclamation marks to convey my upbeat way of talking. I do however realize that this can come off as unprofessional within the workplace. The rule that I follow personally when I’m writing a formal email (like for a job) is to keep the body of the email with a maximum of 2 exclamation marks and always allow myself to end an email with an exclamation mark. E.G: Thanks! or, I look forward to meeting with you!

    I will never use the double (!!) or multiple (!!!!) when writing a professional email, I do agree that makes the email seem very unprofessional. But if I’m talking to you on MSN…watch out!!

    I also thought it was interesting to hear what Grammar Girl had to say at the end of her interview, when the questions from listeners were asked. I’m not big on writing “u” for “you” or “ur” for “your”…I agree in that it can really make the content difficult to read!

    And what about the use of emoticons? I’m not big on that either, especially in the workplace. I almost find it weird when I’m on a co-op and my colleagues use them. I’m not opposed to it, and I actually think it’s sweet when someone will end an email with a smile 🙂 but personally..I’ll stick to my method of an email smile (!).

    c u l8er !! 🙂

    (that was kind of awkward)

    Comment by Hilary | May 26, 2009 | Reply

  2. Okay true but what about the “haha”? I have to admit I use the “haha” more than I use a “lol” or a :), is that just as wrong?

    To be honest I think it’s all a matter of judgment. If you know the people in the office well, and you instant message one another, I don’t see the harm in (!), :), “haha” during the conversation. If you are emailing someone you don’t know, or have never conversed with before, I would stick to Hilary’s rule – save your exclamation marks for the sign off. As long as you act as professionally as you would during a face-to-face conversation, then you don’t have to worry about it.

    Until… your boss pulls out the 😉
    That’s just TM!!!!


    Comment by kbslice | May 26, 2009 | Reply

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