People use too many exclamation points. They just do. And as discussed in my previous post on using the conventions of current grammar, the overuse of exclamation points is a really quick way to make yourself look stupid. Or super excited, in an overly medicated, nothing-could-ever-be-wrong-in-the-world kind of way. Either way, it needs to stop. Now!
If we look at the issue from a marketing communications perspective, it becomes even more dire. This isn’t just a case of an over-zealous e-mail exchange between co-workers. It is the misuse of a piece of punctuation that is meant to communicate a strong feeling of some sort, and bring attention to the most important part of the message that is being sent.
It is all too easy, especially when one is very knowledgable and passionate about the subject at hand, to think that everything in the message is important. But it’s not. Sometimes people need to step back for a minute, and consider the face that if they could only communicate one single idea to their audience, what would it be? And even then, it better be a pretty damn important and exciting idea if it is to necessitate the use of an exclamation point.
When I googled this topic (sidenote: I still can’t believe “google” is now a verb. Now that deserves an exclamation point!), I came across one really interesting website that had a section debunking comic book legends. And it turns out that at one point, Stan Lee tried to ban all exclamation points from Marvel comics, leading to a number of issues that contained barely any punctuation at all (for the full discussion, click here). Just another example of the fact that anything, taken to the extreme, causes problems.
Oh, and on another sidenote, I guess I should explain the turn in subject matter this blog has taken. The first 6 or so posts were part of a PR class I took last winter, and focused on current events. As I’m no longer actively involved in linguistics, I thought this would make a great forum to share my thoughts on various-language-related topics. It gives me the opportunity to write on something I am very passionate about, while at the same time forming a bridge between that world, and my new world of marketing communications management.