One of my favorite podcasts, "How to Do Everything" from NPR, posed this challenge: Ban the exclamation point for 30 days (listen from the 2:44 mark). It's a juice cleanse for the written word. Full disclosure: I've already slipped up a few times — all in texts/messages to friends while sleepy and/or very excited.
I love efficiency in communication, something I'm learning to appreciate even more as a manager in an email-dependent work environment. Drafting emails to convey the necessary information in the right tone is vital and takes up way more time in my day than it should. I receive (and I'm sure we all do) an unbelievable amount of emails with questionable grammar, distracting PowerPoint-esque backgrounds and more exclamation points than the content warrants.
As discussed in the podcast, the most common spot for the now-banned excitable punctuation is in greetings. I already skip greetings in emails, so this doesn't prove an issue for me. My struggle is with the sign-off. I generally stick with the tried and true "Thanks." But how to punctuate? Without an exclamation point, it can read demanding or sarcastic to me (maybe that's how I intend it in most cases and just don't want to admit it), with that dreaded line-and-period it seems more friendly, exciting, chipper even (things I usually am not but strive to have others perceive me as).
So let's just drop it. Is it really adding anything? If everything is exclaimed, nothing is exclaimed. As in most things, simplicity rules.
Does anyone care what word and corresponding punctuation is there as long as the rest of the message is clear and reasonable? Here's hoping they don't. Because from here on out, the exclamation point is the nuclear option — to be used only if I absolutely must cyber-yell about puppies falling like rain from the sky or guacamole replacing water in drinking fountains.