Not the Boy Who Cried Wolf | Daily Prompt: It’s a Text, Text, Text, Text World

How do you communicate differently online than in person, if at all? How do you communicate emotion and intent in a purely written medium?

I used to be certain but now, I am not. At least, for one aspect.

Here’s my situation: over the years, I have developed a supposed skill for sarcasm. I usually brandish it when I’m with actual friends. Back then, it was funny and entertaining. Plus it was said to be very tolerable and contained because I only did it offline. But, according to reactions, my dark gift has translated itself online. And it has done so with such a smooth and strange manner that people—friends and strangers alike—can no longer tell the difference if I am being sarcastic or actually appreciative or enthusiastic. I end having to reassure them of things I usually did not have to.

According to my “victims” especially my best friend, it’s easier for them to tell whether I am being sarcastic when I am there in person. They could read it in my face, hear it in my tone, and see the way my whole body acts. Online, it’s a whole other story that’s very difficult to interpret.

Note though that this is just one aspect of me.

For any other time or aspect, whether it is in person or online, I don’t have to reassure anyone of anything or restate my declarations or take back what I just said. I’m not the boy who cried wolf yet I could feel the anger of the village, so I have to tell them that there really isn’t any. And I have to repeat myself many times to keep anyone from being upset when I never really said anything upsetting at all.

Which is why I now believe that the sarcasm punctuation mark would be of great use to me.



11 Comments Add yours

  1. A sarcasm punctuation mark is a great idea! We could use ~, on both ends, like quotation marks.


    1. matiserrano says:

      I have read of the tilde being used for that purpose but, according to some reports, majority of the people are not aware of that particular usage–much less of the punctuation. Some dismiss it as cutefying or a typo.

      From what I have gathered, someone invented an actual punctuation mark for sarcasm but it has yet to gain popular or even actual usage. Here’s the link:


  2. I consider myself an excellent sarcasm detector, maybe because I like it so much myself, and I am not Sheldon Cooper – which is what one of my work buddies called me recently. I digress. Sarcasm has a very distinct structure, aside from it’s other tells in personal conversation, which I am sure everybody is aware of now. 50 points for whomever can point out where I used sarcasm in the previous sentence, and another 50 points if you can identify and describe the structure…


  3. Divya says:

    Haha, a sarcasm punctuation mark would be an ideal addition to my yearning keyboard. It is actually very trying to distinguish emotions, let alone unless you know a person’s offline and online persona extremely well. It can turn frustrating sometimes, because I have been victim as well as perpetrator. But tastefully done, sarcasm can have a much better and subtly appreciable effect through writing. Good job highlighting the differences!


    1. Mati Serrano says:

      I’ve come across several individuals who have proposed their own sarcasm marks. And even some sites that say theirs is the official sarcasm mark. Yet I don’t see any of them used by anyone else. That or the people I am reading aren’t sarcastic.


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