Back in the olden days, in the early 2000s, when texting was only called SMS and ubiquitous iPhones were still years away, mobile phone messages were nearly devoid of exclamation marks because typing in any kind of punctuation was a huge pain, Baron said.
It took tapping through several screens to get to the periods and apostrophes, so typing phrases like "I will" was easier than shortening to "I'll." As a result, text communication was actually more formal than casual speech.
Around that time, instant messaging was more popular than texting in the United States. And even though punctuation is easily accessible on computer keyboards, abbreviations and emoticons were scarce in early IMs, Baron found in a 2003 study. In general, people used IM's to say what they wanted to say.
With their larger screens and keyboards, smartphones made it much easier to add punctuation, emoticons and more recently, emoji characters. These symbols of emotion spread quickly, particularly among teenage girls.
Studies, including Baron's work, repeatedly show that girls and young women in a variety of countries use their phones for strengthening social connections more often than boys do. Girls also use more exclamation points and emoticons. In interviews, Baron said, teenage girls have complained that the texts they received from boys didn't express enough emotion.