You know language and the way you communicate is changing when your mum discovers Emojis and sends you Emojis pictures of penguins to put a smile on your face. You start using colons and ‘|’ to demonstrate anger ( 😐 ); and you do more (virtual) kissing and hugging than a first-time-in-love teenager.
Ever since I once (accidentally) sent an email to an old boyfriend with “Love me” (a way my family signs off emails to each other), the way I sign off correspondence these days is a measured and considered decision.
A simple ‘xo’ saves me the embarrassment of having to use the word ‘love’ or when I’m diggin’ someone and I want to be show myself warm towards them. It’s gone from being a secret sign-off between sweethearts, who used to sign love letters with ‘x’ or ‘SWALK’ [sealed with a loving kiss] to just showing a general warmth towards the person you are corresponding with.
Even though the symbol “x” has been universally acknowledged to represent a kiss since the 1760s, the trademark “xo” continues to creep into our lives and encroach on what is deemed acceptable social etiquette.
At first, its virtual identity was clear: a simple farewell, nicer than ‘See you later’, and yet less personal than ‘Love’. Jessica Bennett and Rachel Simmons wrote in a recent article for The Atlantic, ‘Men could ‘xo’ their wives. Girlfriends could ‘xo’ girlfriends. It was a digital kiss – meant, of course, for somebody you’d actually kiss. But soon enough, nonstop emails, IMs and tweets began to dilute its intimacy factor,”.
So…. are you a fan of the ”xo” sign off, or are you all business when it comes to communicating?