minusculoyer

minus­cule is the tutoy­er of the inter­nets.

none of these are new obser­va­tions, but— i’ve been notic­ing again the “inner sig­nals” of writ­ten com­mu­ni­ca­tion by email and text.  orthog­ra­phy of course tells you loads about a per­son— like, in so-called real life, accent, dic­tion, hair and clothes, smell, and so on.  are there errors?  what are their nature?  are there delib­er­ate mis­spellings, abbre­vi­at­ed spellings like “thru”, num­ber­slang like “l8r”, omit­ted apos­tro­phes in “it’s”, are the omis­sions arbi­trary or delib­er­ate?  (guess: “it’s” and “its” will col­lapse accept­ably to “its” over the com­ing decades, fol­lowed by the lin­ger­ing ill­ness and death of apos­tro­phe cul­ture as a whole.)

one of the sig­nals i’m find­ing myself most attuned to is the vari­a­tion in the use of all-low­er­case.  typo­graph­i­cal­ly, as has been men­tioned, i’m fond of the low­er­case and its uncial script roots— hell, every­one is— and from the ear­li­est days of the inter­nets there’s been a taboo on the harsh mind­sound of ALL CAPS.  all-low­er­case is prac­ticed rig­or­ous­ly by some (in cer­tain prod­ucts this requires an explic­it turn­ing-off of auto­mat­ic cap­i­tal­iza­tion fea­tures), and the effect is both casu­al and self-dep­re­cat­ing, though in the lat­ter capac­i­ty it must be used with care to avoid the thing becom­ing its oppo­site.  (i’m think­ing of pon­cy email from a cer­tain famous design­er here.)  the heart of the mat­ter is the minus­culiza­tion of the “i”, which almost looks like a lit­tle bow, doesn’t it?  you know, the dot is the head, and so on?  (nev­er­mind.)  some­thing i’ve nev­er seen but expect to come from japan one of these days is an email ren­der­ing “i” in low­er­case, but “You” cap­i­tal­ized.  a more grace­ful vari­a­tion was sent to me recent­ly by a very lit­er­ate old friend whom i’ve missed these last cou­ple of years, writ­ing

i thought of you today bc i’m going to Port­land on Fri­day to read, not that that makes robust sense.

what does make robust sense here is the love­ly use in this con­text of the con­trac­tion “bc”, and the con­trast­ing cap­i­tal­iza­tions of Port­land and Fri­day.

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