Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Chart It!

For no particularly compelling reason, outside of the simple pleasures of writing up a crude pie chart in PowerPoint, I felt like charting the punctuation of all the recent birthday messages that were posted on my facebook wall. Seeing as how birthday facebook messages in recent years have become this sort of crazy personal social barometer, there are countless ways one could measure and interpret all the data from this random yearly poll of your online "friends". I didn't really look that deeply at things, just counted up the punctuations.

As the ugly colored chart clearly shows, of 30 posted messages, an overwhelming 13 birthday wishes ended with a simple (!). It's not really all that surprising, since it's both stylistically accurate and the usual shorthand for showing enthusiasm. I found the double (!!), tied for the second most with 5, to be interesting. I find there to be a real deliberateness to the double. I imagine a hastily written message with a quick lean on the exclamation point key would often yield three or more exclamation points (there were 4 greetings with a trio of exclamation points, unfortunately none with more), a two pointer seems less random. Tied with the two pointers was the no punctuation greeting, which I find to have a classier, restrained quality. It's likely the popular choice for those who eschew the exclamation point, which I have to agree has become far too ubiquitous in modern writing. Rounding out the list is the period, which two subdued well wishers ended their well wishes with. Also there was one emoticon, which would technically fall into the non-punctuation category but I figured deserved individual recognition. I do recall getting more emoticons in past years, maybe it's due to the recession.

I hope this demonstrates that I do pay attention to and appreciate every birthday post (probably more so than you if you're one of those sad people that just rotely send out greetings based on whomever's birthday facebook tells you it is), even the ones by you weirdos I never see.