I’ve been known to refer to social media as antisocial media, so you might wonder what I think is the worst thing about it. Online bullying? The relentless self-promotion? (Buy my book! Buy my service!) People tagging you or adding you to lists without asking permission?

Nah. It’s the exclamation points. For my British friends and followers, exclamation marks.

Okay, I’m not really serious, but you have to admit: as a writer, editor, or proofreader, you could spend your whole life hearing, “Avoid exclamation points,” and then to see them everywhere could drive you crazy.

Take Facebook. I looked at my notifications today and the first one said, “Art Freen and Janie Doe have birthdays today. Wish them well!” Do I really need Facebook yelling at me to wish my friends a happy birthday? (And no, those are not my real friends’ names. Heck, I think I stole “Art Freen” from a Don Martin cartoon circa 1971.)

Of course, you know what happens next. I click in the appropriate box and yell, “Happy birthday, Art!” What other choice do I have?

Even on Twitter?

Twitter is my favorite social platform, because I’ve been able to build up a large following and engage with many other writers and readers. But in some ways, it’s even worse there. Just a quick scroll through my feed this morning yields these exclamation gems: “Coming soon!” “Thanks for the follow!” And, my personal favorite for today, “[Book name redacted] quite emotionally charged!”

It’s enough to make a guy want to post that little smiley face who’s laughing so hard he’s crying.

Ultimately, it becomes a zero sum game, an if-you-can’t-beat-them-join-them deal, where you have to use the dreaded exclamation point just to appear friendly.

It’s fine on social media, I guess, but it starts to become worrisome when it migrates to business correspondence. Here’s where I have to use my best judgment. When the cool millennial from my favorite client’s office sends me email – and it starts with “Hey Mike!” and ends with “Let me know what you think!” – I can probably get away with “Thanks!” or “I’ll put it on the schedule!”

But for someone I don’t know, who might not be casual in their correspondence, no way. NO exclamation points, unless they fire first. And even then, only in moderation.

What do you think? Comment below! (Oops. Sorry about that. Really!)

 

storm

Sometimes All You Can Do Is Rock With The Storm

A while back, I was having a very bad Monday, and wrote a blog post called Roll With The Punches, Baby! The idea was that sometimes you win, sometimes you lose; sometimes life hands you a bouquet of flowers, other times, a punch in the mouth. On that particular...
advance reader copy

Does An ARC Have to Include A Cover Illustration?

One of the most confusing concepts in publishing is that of the Advance Reader Copy, or ARC. I call it confusing because there appears to be no universal agreement on what those initials actually mean. While some sources refer to an ARC as an Advance Reader Copy,...
patchworks

Patchworks: A Book Review

Today I woke to the all-too-familiar tragic news of yet another mass shooting. Sadly, we all know what will happen next: politicians will sputter, talking heads will bloviate, and the next thing that gets done about gun control will be – absolutely nothing. Such is...
punches

Roll With The Punches, Baby!

Today is just one of those Mondays. I got a letter from the IRS that said they "believe there's a miscalculation" in my return. So that big $300 refund I was planning on receiving? Fuhgeddaboutit. But hey, at least I don't owe them anything, and they're not auditing...
Miles

The Best Thing I’ve Ever Done

I wrote most of Miles of Files between 2007 and 2015. I felt my first novel had been an artistic success, but I wasn't so sure about the second one. Now, I'd moved on to this third novel without having found a publisher for either of the first two. And it was totally...
epic launch

An Epic Launch

Today, the SEO overlords may punish me for posting something overly short. But that's okay. Because I had an epic launch this weekend. "Epic launch" is a phrase I've had in my head for a few weeks now. You see, as the publication date for Whizzers drew closer and...
Thanksgiving

Gratitude Week: A Thanksgiving Reflection from Mike Sahno – Author. Speaker. Publisher.

2018 has been trying, to say the least. In January, I posted a New Year's resolution to finish my current WIP, Whizzers, this year. Then, on Valentine's Day, that got back-burnered when the call came that my 81-year-old mother had taken a fall and had to be...
Biden

If There Ever Was a Time to be Apolitical, This Isn’t It

Anyone who has read a handful of my blog posts, or better yet, my fiction, probably has a pretty good handle on where I stand politically. I’ve been known to rail against the orange monster in the Oval Office from time to time. In fact, I wrote back in 1994 that...
new author

Top 3 Suggestions for New Authors

Today is one of those days where I can't possibly get everything done that I was planning to get done. With a doctor's appointment coming up in an hour, I'm even more pressed for time to deliver my regular Monday blog post. So here's a little spin on what's typically...
Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones and Storytelling

Writing is a funny game. You make stuff up and it goes from your head to your fingers, then to a screen via keyboard, or a page via writing implement. But of course, we all know that's not the oldest way of telling stories. Really, stories began with cave drawings and...