I TYPED IN ALL CAPS FOR A WEEK AND HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED
OCTOBER 22 IS CAPS LOCK DAY HOORAY.
Bold is eye catching and strong, I suppose. A bit cocky, even. But it’s the chunky '90s heel of the type world. And I wore chunky '90s heels in the '90s. Been there, done that. Nowadays, I prefer a stiletto.
Italicised words are all super chilled out, just mooching along, not a care in the world. Italics is the typographic equivalent of melted cheese. But you know what? I hate melted cheese. Do not ever invite me to a cheese fondue party, thanks (chocolate fondue fine). So I only use italics if I really have to -- you know, for book titles and the Latin names of plants.
READ MORE: Why Today Is The Silliest Day Of The Year
Don’t even get me started on underline. It’s without a doubt the worst thing ever. Like, I seriously despise it. It’s popular in corporate circles. Ooh, look at this official document with its underlined subheadings -- fancy. No! It’s not fancy. It’s awful. If you send me a staff meeting agenda with any bits underlined, I am not coming because I know someone at that meeting will say “We need to open a dialogue about our continuous quality improvement,” or “Let’s touch base about the strategic upward movement in next quarter’s financial narrative.”
BUT UPPERCASE, WELL. I LOVE A BIT OF UPPERCASE.
UNFORTUNATELY, EXCLUSIVELY USING CAPITALS IS SOCIALLY UNACCEPTABLE. ONLY ARCHITECTS ARE ALLOWED TO WRITE ENTIRELY IN UPPERCASE. FOR EVERYONE ELSE, CAPS LOCK IS A JOKE KEY THAT YOU DEFINITELY AREN’T SUPPOSED TO ACTUALLY USE.
BUT IT HAS A TINY LIGHT ON IT TO SIGNIFY “ON”. AND IT MAKES EVERYTHING SEEM MORE IMPORTANT THAN IT REALLY IS.
AH, CAPS LOCK. OF COURSE YOU DESERVE YOUR OWN SPECIAL DAY.
To signify this wonderful occasion, I did a week-long experiment involving emails, text messages and EXCLUSIVELY CAPS LOCK. This is what happened.
1. I needed a new bike.
I found one on Gumtree, so I contacted the seller. My first email was normal:
“I’m interested in the bike you’ve got for sale. Could I come by and have a look this weekend?”
And I got a normal reply:
“Thanks Jean. Sunday morning suits fine. What time is best?”
My second email I wrote COMPLETELY IN CAPS.
“GREAT. HOW ABOUT 9AM? (I THINK DAYLIGHT SAVING STARTS SUNDAY).”
“Yes 9am suits perfectly. Daylight saving clock change duly noted!”
Yes – she thought I was yelling at her to REMEMBER DAYLIGHT SAVING BECAUSE YOU MIGHT BE AN IDIOT.
2. I sent a text to my mum:
“WE’RE ON OUR WAY AND WILL TURN UP AT YOUR PLACE MID-AFTERNOON IF YOU’RE GOING TO BE HOME.”
“Is this a code?”
3. I sent a CAPS LOCK message to a friend. She replied:
“Are you feeling really shouty?”
I wrote many more UPPERCASE messages to that same friend.
She eventually wrote:
“Why still caps?”
To which I replied:
“CAPS ALL WEEK BABY.”
4. My husband bought a new ute.
When he went to pick it up I sent him this text:
“DID YOU REMEMBER TO ORGANISE INSURANCE?”
And he replied:
“Was just on phone to insurance lady. She didn’t shout at me.”
5. I sent a CAPITALISED text to a friend about what I’d been doing, etc.
At the end of my message I added “AND HOW ARE YOU?” She replied:
“I am not speaking all in caps so I am fine.”
I realised, halfway through my experiment, that using pure uppercase means: no need for correct grammar. Commas? Pah! Caps lock is all about WRITING BIG AND WRITING HARD AND NOT NEEDING TO TAKE A BREATH UNTIL THE END OF THE SENTENCE.
6. I invited a friend out for a drink but she said she was busy.
So I wrote:
“I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU HAVE OTHER FRIENDS IT’S TOO MUCH.”
7. I pitched an article to a newspaper editor I didn’t know.
I forgot to pitch in caps, but luckily had to write a second email a moment later:
“SORRY KEITH I FORGOT TO ATTACH MY HEADSHOT TO MY PREVIOUS EMAIL HERE IT IS REGARDS JEAN.”
He didn’t reply. My article was not published.
8. I am a TAFE teacher.
Sometimes I have to email my students about deadlines and excursions and things. I ALWAYS USE CAPS FOR THIS IN THE HOPE THAT THEY WILL PAY MORE ATTENTION IF THEY CAN IMAGINE ME SHOUTING. For example:
“OKAY JUST REMEMBER THAT YOUR ASSIGNMENT IS DUE NEXT MONDAY YES THAT'S RIGHT NEXT MONDAY SO GET IT DONE OR ELSE. PLS.”
Only three people (out of 12) handed that assignment in.
SO WHAT CONCLUSION DID I COME TO AFTER DOING THIS SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENT? SADLY, IT APPEARS THAT CAPS IS A LITTLE HIT AND MISS. SOMETIMES PEOPLE “DULY NOTE” THINGS THAT ARE UNEXPECTEDLY IN UPPERCASE, AND SOMETIMES PEOPLE THINK YOU’RE CROSS WHEN YOU’RE NOT, AND SOMETIMES PEOPLE GET OFFENDED BY CAPS LOCK MESSAGES AND BLACKLIST YOU FOREVER.
BUT DON’T WORRY, I’VE HAD AN IDEA:
HOW ABOUT THIS? EVERYTHING TOGETHER, COMPLETELY OVER-THE-TOP AND GAUDY, CHUNKY HEELS AND MELTED CHEESE AND CORPORATE SNAZZ AND SHOUTING, ALL AT THE SAME TIME. IT’S UPPERCASE, BUT IT’S DRESSED UP. GIVE IT A GO IN YOUR NEXT EMAIL AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS.
HAPPY CAPS LOCK DAY EVERYONE.