How Whatsapp has changed our way of writing

Since the arrival of mobile phones in our daily lives there have been many aspects of these that we have ended up adapting, modernizing or eliminating, and one of them is very present in our daily lives. And is that the rules of writing is something that new technologies have changed, at least at certain times, perhaps because sometimes (SMS) each character is important for a predefined limit that cost us, perhaps because as in many other things we want to write as quickly as possible, or perhaps it is simply because we are lazy and have a tendency to work less and less, but what is true is that when you use instant messaging applications the rules of the game change.

This article is written with two intentions, the first is that of make people think that feels identified in how this situation has become like this and if they consider it to be something positive or something negative (my opinion will be reflected in the following lines), and the second is to try to instruct people who do not feel identified on how the rules have changed and how to adapt to them, if they want to.

The rules of the game have changed

Over time and new generations (among which I include myself) the rules have been adapted according to needs and situations, and the rules of writing in this case have adapted to new generations, to the new technologies and to the new needs.

And it is not the same to talk face to face than talk on the phone, by phone we have the tendency to give more emphasis to the tone of our voice to let the recipient know if the conversation has a more friendly and informal tone, or is more serious and even hostile.

A new element in the communication paradigm

As a child I was taught that communication is made up of elements, these elements are the sender, the receiver, the message, the code, the channel and even the context, however, when we talk about communication via text, in real time, we are talking about a type of “new” communication, since It is a verbal communication in which one of the important elements that have been ignored is practically discarded.

I explain myself, in a face-to-face conversation our gestures, expressions and tone of voice, directly influence the message, making even that using the same words we can express different messages, we could call this the “tone” of the conversation, an element that is hardly transmitted via text in real time, since nobody sees our face, nobody listens to us and therefore our message lacks emotions, lacks a tone, lacks that factor that gives it one meaning or another, is the main reason why many times sarcasm, a type of mockery that often makes use of the tone to change The meaning of the message does not work in instant messaging.

To solve this they were created the Emoji, symbols that represent situations, emotions, actions, objects, everything, and more and more Emoji we can use, but people, or at least, new generations, we have anticipated this and we have changed the rules of writing slightly (only in instant messaging) to adapt that absent element, the tone, to this new method of communication.

What rules have been changed?

Surely you have missed writing on WhatsApp with your sons and daughters, and even vice versa, many sons and daughters have missed writing with their older relatives, or with their parents, and that is that while we young people have learned (based on practice) not only to write fast, but to include that tone in our messages, the vast majority of older people (I will refer to people over 35/40 years old, who are not offended) yet, so the conversations are a bit confusing for both parties, let's give an example:

Conversation respecting the writing rules:

Conversation based on the rules imposed by the new generations:


The correct and timely use of Emojis transmits between the sender and the receiver the tone of the message, providing an idea of ​​the mood of each other (or others) member of the conversation, in this way the same message can sound in two different ways, the members of the conversation respect the same rules the conversation takes place normally ( for example, young with young, older with older), both use the same code to put it in some way and understand each other without problems, the problem comes when members of both groups are mixed, like a young and an older, since while the The elder will write respecting the rules that he knows, the young man will do it respecting the new ones imposed by modern society, and according to the new rules the messages of the elder can acquire a different tone to the one intended, becoming interpreted as hostile messages, dry or "edges".

What rules have changed?

Do not confuse the new rules with bad writing, many of the original rules are respected, others are slightly modified or acquire other functions, for example:

Point: This is a rule that has been modified, the point no longer serves to end a sentence, the point now becomes an indicator of the tone, if a young person writes a point at the end of a sentence it can mean a couple of things, or that intends to emphasize the hostile or serious tone of the same, or that tries to make known to the recipient his intention not to continue with the conversation, while according to conventional writing rules the point must be present at the end of each sentence or sentence .

The Emoji: With the intention of making known the tone of a phrase or sentence, young people use Emojis (in their right measure) to express emotions or contexts, so a phrase or word accompanied by an emoji can acquire one meaning or another, and even These can serve to reveal to the recipient the intention of giving the message a sarcastic tone. A widespread misuse by the elderly is the use of emojis that do not correspond to the emotion you want to convey, that have no place in the conversation, or even use too many Emoji.

Tone Indicators: Although the above are also indicators of tone, there are certain behaviors that I would not know how to define but that also indicate the tone of the conversation replacing an Emoji and thus avoiding excessive use of these, and are methods such as writing “ haha ”,“ XD ”,“ jiji ”,“ hehe ”or“ jojo ”, using these elements allows the sender to provide one tone or another to the message, for example,“ haha ​​”and“ XD ”allow us to declare that our message It has a peaceful tone, slightly lively and / or of course funny, the “jojo” or “jiji” allows us to give our message a mischievous tone, and the “hehe” would be the equivalent of boasting, feeling proud of something or giving a rogue tone like the previous ones, these elements can be used even as a response, especially when the receiver does not know what to say.

The capital letters: Since voice is not used in instant messaging conversations, a method has been devised to match the result of raising the volume of our voice in a face-to-face conversation, and that is to write a sentence in capital letters (except in situations where has been by mistake, that there are) it translates into an attempt to emulate a shout or raise the tone of our message, being able to be hostile or not, simply giving the recipient the feeling that the message should be read in the form of a shout. This does not, of course, mean that capital letters respect their usual use as the beginning of a sentence or phrase and the beginning of proper names or components of an abbreviation.

What rules have NOT changed?

There are many rules that maintain their conventional use, because writing by instant messaging is no excuse to write poorly, therefore the accentuation rules, the use of hyphens, commas, the correct writing of words like "there", "there", and "alas", the exclamation and question marks (although it is true that the vast majority has started to use them only at the end of the sentence, instead of including them at the beginning, perhaps in an attempt to speed up the writing of that message), the spaces, the capital letters at the beginning of each sentence or of a proper name, etc …

Even the ellipses have been preserved, they are used to imply that the phrase has a different tone or to ignore content that is omitted due to lack of space or absence in the need to write it.

Incorrect behaviors and outside the new rules

You have to know how to differentiate the new rules mentioned above and the wrong behaviors of many people, and as I said, writing by WhatsApp or any other similar service should not serve as a pretext to write badly, below I detail some of the incorrect behaviors that are not part of the new writing rules:

Put kas: The new rules should not be used as an excuse to replace the “what” with a ka (K), this is an incorrect behavior that only serves to write faster, is used according to the custom, taste, or cultural level of the person who writes , and it is not an appropriate behavior neither in a conventional way nor in the modern system.

Do not put commas: Commas are indispensable to give pause and meaning to a sentence or sentence, omitting commas is a behavior that is foreign to the modern system and that is not correct behavior under any circumstances.


Whatever the origin and the reason, the truth is that instant online messaging has made us change certain rules in a “clandestine” way, without authorization of any linguistic authority, and towards new socially accepted and adopted rules, is another proof of the ease we have to adapt to what surrounds us and to adapt what surrounds us, since after all the language is made among all its speakers.

The rules that I mentioned are only applicable to instant messaging, which are services like Whatsapp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, Line, WeChat, etc … In other situations, such as a post on Facebook, an email or an article itself, the rules of writing are back to conventional and that all we know

I hope this article has served more than one person as a reflection on a topic that I consider positive, that generates debate in the community about how we can improve communication through these channels and that it helps the people that in the article I have called elders to finally understand those that I have called young people, and to easily adapt to new technologies.

This article it is not official information extracted from the SAR or anything like that, it is rather a reflection that was around my head and that I have checked and discussed with various people in my circles, although the information that is written here is true (and can be easily verified), it does not come from no official source.

If you know more rules that have changed, rules that are respected and considered worthy of mention, or incorrect behaviors that you want to share, Do not hesitate to leave your comment!

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