An Inquiry Into Contemporary Digital Communication Style

By Kristina Norgard

As a twenty-something-year-old living in the age of the internet and digital communication, I have noticed different ways people text and communicate on social media platforms. It seems that different groups of people, separated by age, location or interest, seem to digitally communicate in ever-evolving and different ways. One of the most obvious examples of this phenomenon, is something I frequently observe and even participate in: lower case letters. Why is it that some people text in all lowercase letters? 

Now, obviously, if you pay attention to this trivial occurrence, not everyone does this. But it is important to note that, at least on the Apple iPhone iOS system, you have to manually go into the keyboard settings to turn off Auto-Capitalization, so typing in all lowercase letters is a conscious choice. I know this because I have done it. So it seems as though lowercase writing must be a conscious choice, not just for me, but for everyone else who does it as well. 

I do not type in all lowercase letters to everyone. When writing professional emails, talking with older family members and friends (who might get confused or think it is lazy or rude of me not to be proper), writing for school, The Point News and to people who I am not well-acquainted or comfortable with yet, I use correct capitalization rules because it feels appropriate and necessary to be more traditional. With that being said, using lowercase letters is something I choose to do when texting close friends, writing Instagram captions, tweeting, and commenting on TikToks: all when I am in a much more casual setting. 

I found this shift from personal to professional and back and forth, again and again, to be funny once I noticed it. I wondered if it is a virtual and visual manifestation of the ways in which our personalities change when speaking or acting around certain people who we have certain relationships with. 

I know the ways that people text differs for everyone, and sometimes I will use capitalized letters when texting my friends. Some people are dedicated to lowercase letters always, others reject modernity and embrace traditional capitalization. Some completely reject emoji culture, others use the minimal typed smiley face 🙂 or use emojis strictly ironically, while still others just straight-up enjoy their emojis. But that topic in itself is a complete and whole other can of worms to dive into for another time.  

Whatever way people choose to express themselves through the stylistic way in which they type online, I find it interesting and potentially full of personal meaning. Of course, it could just be a trivial part of our society that currently does not need recognition at all. Regardless, personally, I found the texting phenomena to be a genuinely interesting look into the daily evolution of the digital world and the conduct and codes that people create around language. 

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