I consider myself a very nice texter. My email aesthetic consists of emojis, GIFs and a well-placed meme or two. I have a tendency to call people I've never met “babe” or “darling.” To me, an exclamation point is about as necessary as a period or, like, oxygen. When I write something, it should make a statement.
Not everyone is as, um, polite as I am. I personally hate getting emails that lack any sort of enthusiasm. I mean, if there aren't at least three exclamation points after your “thanks,” then you kind of come off as a bitch. No offense.
Enter "Emotional Labor." The Google Chrome plug-in does the “nice” work for you by adding smiley faces, exclamations and other frilly things to your emails. It also apparently calls everyone you've ever met "lovey" and makes you sound like a jackass.
Needless to say, I had to try this out immediately. Take a look at my original emails and what Emotional Labor changed them to below:
First up, I emailed my editor about food.
Apparently Claudia needed to be told I was thinking of her.
Verdict is still out on whether she has food, though.
Next, I emailed a thinly-veiled threat to our editor-in-chief.
Except I guess I had to be nicer about it.
Do I seem less threatening if I have three exclamations after my evil threat? Maybe if Ramsay Snow used this in his ravens, he wouldn't be (SPOILER ALERT) dead.
I was still hungry, so I emailed my co-worker about bringing me food.
Who is "lovey" and why am I always thinking of her?
If the messages look kind of forced, it's because they're supposed to. Joanne McNeil, the creator of the app, said that the over-use of enthusiasm is meant to "look fake."
We might garnish our messages with emoticons and emojis like strewing garland and bunting to demonstrate emotion.
Too many niceties, however, can add up to be "insincere or abrupt," she adds.
Not only do the messages look forced even to me, but they just make me sound like a dick. There's such a thing as being too nice via email and this app accomplishes just that.
Still waiting to see if anyone actually sends me any food, though.
Citations: Would You Let An Algorithm Manage Your Relationships? (BBC)