There is a great need for a sarcasm font. Although typed communication has made great leaps in the age of emails, texting and online communities, we continue to have misunderstandings due to lack of much of the nonverbal communication we use. In fact, as typed online communications become increasingly intimate, the danger of really screwing up increases.
I belong to an online congregation. I started to put the word congregation in quotation marks because it seems as if people can’t really congregate online. But we do. We gather at certain places at certain times and share our thoughts and ideas. We share praise and gratitude and challenge each other. In fact, I think that many of us are much more open than we would be face-to-face and that’s another essay altogether.
Because my congregation is world-wide and all ages, we often face language challenges. For example, some of our most active members don’t speak American. They speak British or Australian, or English is not their primary language. It’s not the accents (obviously) that are troublesome online, but the word usage.
A Brit might say “I’ll be back after a quick trip to the loo and a fresh cuppa.”
An Aussie might say, “Gotta walkabout now. Have a bonza day, mate."
A young person who’s grown up with the Internet might say, “OMG, gotta P. BRB.”
We can deal this that type of gaff because usually when we don’t understand the words we feel free enough to ask. However sometimes, we understand the words, but we can’t see if eyes are rolling, or people are scowling, laughing, or crying.
Of course we can use the little faces, but sometimes they are just too cutesy. If my underlying meaning is that I think you are a real horse’s back end and what you just typed is the biggest pile of steaming dung I’ve read in a long while, somehow a little frowny face just doesn’t cut it. Of course I can type everything in bold all caps, maybe even use a red font, but that’s about as far as I can go.
So let's leave it like this. If I want to type to you that I think you are pig, I'll say something like, "I think you are a pig." And if you think I'm off my nut, you can say, "I think you're off your nut."
That should save us all a lot of grief.