Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why @[insert name]?

I admit. I used it, too. It happened when I wrote on a Facebook Friend’s status. I wanted to address another person’s comment out of a string.

I’d seen others use, for example, “@John” or “@Jane,” and thought, well, I guess that’s the wave of the future.

So, not wishing to offend the Status Syntax Gods or appear Facebook illiterate, I smugly inserted @ and felt very hip.

It was like I dared others to read my comment directed only to whoever’s name followed @.

I mean, even I know enough that when I leave a comment, and later get notification that someone else has added their thoughts, if it begins with @, and my name does not follow,
“Back off, Bub!”

It’s like in the “olden days,” steaming open someone’s personal mail and reading it. (It’s just much easier on Facebook because you don’t have to apply glue to reseal the envelop. No one is the wiser.)

Then I thought, what happened to that cute little curly thing we learned to use in elementary school? What’s it called? Oh, yeah, the

So like if I wanted to let Jane know I was mainly addressing her comment, again in the “olden days,” I would have typed “Jane,”. How cute is that?

But, @you, you’re probably right. That little squiggle’s way too subtle. With overwhelming amounts of information bombarding us 24/7, @ is the most efficient way to get our attention. Clearly it filters through all the “stuff, ” so others need not waste time reading a comment directed solely

Of course, there’s always a downside to everything. @ has caused another victim of unemployment.

Hope the salutation comma finds other work soon…or, better yet, is rehired.