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Translating your emotions into internet text can be fraught with dangers, misinterpretations, and people just need to chill out. October 17, 2011

Posted by Ruth in Lessons in Life.

Living with Internet text.

 We all know that the internet is an invaluable tool to keep in touch with out of town family members, friends and acquaintances. Internet social mediums such as myspace and facebook have brought millions together. As do the various discussion forums.

 There have always been little rules like softening your opinion with little smilies, J to show your mood. A colon : and a parentheses ) together gives you a cute smilie. : )

 Another rule is when you capitalize you are in essence yelling or raising your voice. This is usually in chat rooms. In chat rooms, you don’t have the luxury of underlining or italicizing certain words. So lots of times people capitalize a word here and there to emphasize a word, to reflect a tonal inflection.

 I put out a bi-monthly newsletter (The Ari Chronicles) for my local Star Trek group. So I do a lot of writing. I have customized my Microsoft Word to have my default font as Tahoma. Size 11. This is because Tahoma is a nice clean font. Size 11 is perfect. Not too big, not too small. When I write an article for The Ari Chronicles, I routinely capitalize words or bold them for emphasis. I’ve been writing articles for the newsletter since the year 2000, and took over the complete newsletter in 2006. I’ve never had a complaint about my style of writing. Or the style of the text, or the formatting. I’ve gotten compliments in fact. This post is in Tahoma style, size 11, imported from Word document, and WordPress imported it just fine.

 I have my primary email account through MSN Hotmail. Hotmail uses a default setting of Times New Roman in font 10 or 11. I generally use it when I send out an email. From time to time, I will go in and change the font or text color. But Hotmail is really a pain in the ass to use. It was just fine until about 2 years ago when they upgraded it. They offer Tahoma in size 10, which translates too tiny, and size 12 which translates too big. Hotmail’s Tahoma 12 relates to Word Document Tahoma 14.

 I didn’t know this until a couple of weeks ago when I sent out an email. I had written a heartfelt letter to someone. Poured my heart out. It was emotional, dealing with personal issues and human emotions. I typed it out in Word Document just like I do normally and had Hotmail import it. Because I had proofread it before I imported it, I didn’t proofread again. And sent it off.

 The recipient took offense over my email and it’s formatting. He said I was yelling at him. I did no such thing. And I took his response as a slap in my face, a hard one in fact.

 I have gotten emails from people that have been formatted in gigantic letters! So big only three or four words fit in a single sentence. Some of them were in garish colors that hurt my eyes. Yuck. But I was brought up in the manner that you don’t criticize another person for such silly petty things.

 And let’s talk about eyes. I am 59 years old. I have worn eyeglasses since I was a small child. It is a well known medical fact that after the age of 40, macular degeneration sets in. People can no longer focus on print close up. This is why you see older people holding their reading material at arm’s length. So along with my inherited astigmatism, resulting in me needing eyeglasses my entire life, I also have the normal aging macular degeneration. Even with my bi-focals, it is difficult to read little tiny print. Hence, my default setting of size 11 for my Tahoma font.

 It was not my fault that Hotmail translated my size 11 Tahoma written missive into a huge print. And I’m not going to apologize for it either.

 What pisses me off, is this 33 year old pisspot turns around and starts lecturing me about email protocol. He has no respect for his elders. And a family member at that! My gut instinct tells me, that he needs to be placed over my knee for a good old-fashioned spanking.

 Instead of giving me the benefit of the doubt, this 33 year old pisspot takes offense and verbalizes his distaste over my font size. And the fact that I capitalized some of my words. What a petty person.

And it shows me he doesn’t know me at all. Everybody who knows me, knows that I am outspoken, and do not hesitate to stand up for myself. There are certain things  that I will not tolerate. And being lectured to by someone almost half my age is one of them!

 Instead of writing back and saying – “Hey now, next time you email me, watch your font size.” Not a problem. I may be outspoken, but I know I’m human and make mistakes, and when my mistakes are pointed out to me, I will correct them. Because that is how I am. When I fuck up, (which I do occasionally), I will admit it.

 Well, that’s it for my rant. Lesson learned for me – those little whipper-snappers, those younglings can’t stand big and bold statements or big and bold fonts. Guess I’ll have to talk down to them from now in a font size that their petty little minds can relate to. How’s this K.? – this is font size 8. Next time, I’ll use font size 4 at him, since he acted like a 4 year old!

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