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Online Talk 101: Your Essential (Hilarious) Guide to Not Sounding Like a Rambling Mess

Listen, I get it – this whole online communication thing is the pits. You’re just trying to Zoom your co-workers, text your bae, or convince your parents you actually are employed…only to end up sounding like a delirious bobblehead with a mouth full of marbles.

We’ve all been there (myself included – I once asked a date out by accidentally sending them fifteen penguin emojis in a row…it was a dark time). But have no fear, because your favorite gabby gal is here to guide you through the treacherous landscape of digital discourse!

Strap yourselves in, my ducklings. It’s time for Online Talk 101. 💥

The Joys of Webcam Awkwardness

Let’s start with that old chestnut – video calls. These little get-togethers can be an absolute minefield of cringe and embarrassment when you’re feeling unprepared.

You nervously wave at the void, rambling like a hostage video while your coworkers squint in confused silence. One second you’re bragging about your kid’s fingerpainting masterpiece…the next you’re dramatically re-enacting the time you got food poisoning in Cancun.

It’s like the social flustercluck never ends!

Pro Tip: Do yourself a solid and set the scene before any big video pow-wow. Find a well-lit, non-distracting corner of your home (read: not your unmade bed or that broom closet you’ve been crashing in). Looking relaxed and put-together in your little video square will help keep you focused and on-message.

And for Pete’s sake, MUTE YOURSELF when you’re not talking. I shouldn’t have to remind you hogbodied mouth-breathers about this, but the last time I was on a meeting, I could’ve transcribed the entire script of Mallrats based on one participant’s…extra lung acoustics.

The Treacherous Text Bermuda Triangle

Ah, texting and messaging. Those ✨convenient✨ little chat boxes that so often devolve into a hellish gyre of misunderstandings and internet rudeness.

One minute you’re zinging off a cute “heyyyyy ;)” to your crush, the next you’ve somehow devolved into a three-hour existential meltdown about the fragility of language and whether words even HAVE meaning anymore.

It’s a perilous path we tread, folks.

The toughest text terrain to navigate? Group chats. These unholy congregations are like the Seventh Circle of Hell, if the Seventh Circle were full of uncles drunkenly arguing about climate change and your one friend who just has to comment “This” under every single message.

Pro Tip: Whether you’re texting your BFF or your boss, CLARITY and CONTEXT are going to be your new best friends. Don’t be afraid to slightly overexplain yourself (more on that later). No one’s going to hold it against you in this new frontier of boiled-down cyber-speak.

Case in point – one time my mom thought I asked to “Pick up milk” but I was actually asking her to “Put up with my cranky behind” and now I’m not allowed within 500 feet of her neighborhood Safeway. See what I mean? Unclear communication is truly a bugbear.

Why Are Words So Hard? An Exploration

Okay, it’s time to get our deepthink pants on and ponder – why DO we struggle so hard with stringing sentences together in the online realm?

Words are tricky little gremlins on the best of days – it’s no wonder we routinely bungle things when we’re separated by digital screens. So much meaning and context is lost in translation!

Think about it. In-person, you’ve got all those handy non-verbal ~cues~: body language, facial expressions, exaggerated jazz hands to emphasize key points. But switch to a text window or video feed? Suddenly we’re all a bunch of expressive amputees stumbling around blind.

The subtext gets lobotomized right out of our silly little correspondence.

BUT! Before you start lamenting the deterioration of modern discourse, let me hit you with a pro-tip of MASSIVE importance:


Yes, I’m giving you a free pass to be as verbose and repetitive as humanly possible. Beat that dead horse into a fine pâté if you must! When you’re typing out or recording some important communication, pretend you’re trying to meticulously describe it to a tiny infant who was just plopped on this mortal plane. Spell. It. ALL. The way. Out. And lmk if things are unclear (let me know if things are unclear).

Because otherwise? You may as well be whispering into a void. Or sharing inside jokes with a wolfpack of confused lemurs.

I cannot emphasize this enough, my comrades. Online chatter is already missing roughly 95% of the nuance and context from in-person talks. So over-clarify liberally to make up for the deficit! Hammer those mfs with as many excessive details and contextual cues as you can muster. It might seem like overkill, but that’s how you’ll avoid becoming a tragic case study in miscommunication.

Emojis – No, Just Don’t 🚫🙅‍♀️

Speaking of MISCOMMUNICATION, though, we’d be neglecting our sworn duty if we didn’t address the scourge that is…the emoji.

These tiny picture abominations have wormed their way into our everyday discourse over the past decade, and look, I’m Sorry but they have to go. 😬

Few things irk me more than trying to converse with someone who feels the need to punctuate every 👏 single 👏 thought 👏 with the written equivalent of a hairball splattered across my screen. What is this, an emotional ransom note?

Worse yet, you never know if someone is genuinely smizing 😘 or just using the kissy face as a weird, vaguely flirty formality (I send passive-aggressive winky faces to my landlord and it hasn’t NOT worked yet).

My advice? Keep emojis minimal at best. I’m talking maybe a well-timed 🔥 or a sprinkling of the shrug 🤷 if you’re intentionally tryna be ~caj~.

Anything more? And you’re flirting with CRYPTOGRAMMIC CHAOS. Take heed, elsewise I’ll have to repeatedly skull emoji you over the head until you get it through your thick skulls.

To Type or Talk?

Okay, but real hot grill: should you be using typed text or audio/video when hopping online? This depends hugely on CONTENT and CONTEXT.

For lowkey stuff like pleasantries or quick coordination? Sure, text works fine. Like, who needs the drama of an eight-minute video just to ask your mom if she’d like cashew or almond milk from the store?

But if you’re communicating about anything juicier, you’re gonna want to take the convo up a notch. Switch to audio recordings or video calls, pronto!

Why? TONALITY and nonverbal cues, obviously. These little flavor accents are to language what garlic bread is to…well, existence itself. They’re critical!

Don’t believe me? Read this next line out loud while making your most unhinged facial expression:

“I had a pretty good day, actually!”

Ooookay, not quite the cheery little statement it looks like on paper, eh?

The flatter your communication, the more opportunity there is for things to get twisted into Eldritch monstrosities. That’s why video calls are so great for more Complex Conversations® – you can put those tone-setting duckface skills to good use!

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the occasional horror of winding up on a video call where everyone ELSE has decided to be the Strong Silent Type that day. Just a whole grid of unmoving, starey mall santa faces leaving YOU to overcompensate with elaborate hand gestures and whimsical regional accents.

Death, taxes, and call silence so deafening you can hear your soul evacuating your body. That’s just part of the fun!

Don’t Be a Cryptic Cabbage, Dummy

Here’s the continuation of the blog post:

Look, we’ve covered a lot of ground today. Overexplaining, dialing up the communication mode for more complex topics, avoiding emojis unless absolutely necessary (and even then, use them sparingly, you heathens)…

But there’s one more critical nugget of wisdom I need to impart. It’s easily the most important lesson in this entire shebang, so listen up, Buttercup!

Don’t. Be. Cryptic.

I can’t stress this enough. Being vague, obtuse, or unnecessarily elliptical in your online communiques is the #1 fastest way to come across as either:

A) A smug, condescending jerk
B) A completely incoherent mess
C) One of those creeps who leaves longform comments about lizard people under bodybuilding YouTube vids
D) All of the above

There’s a time and a place for air of ~mystery~. That place is literally anywhere besides digital communication. Because I guaran-damn-tee that if you start waxing all cryptic in your texts, emails, or DMs, the person on the receiving end is going to be silently raging.

“Why is Theresa being so weirdly vague about confirming these meeting notes? Is she hitting on me? Is she having a stroke? WHY DO I FEEL LIKE I’M BEING GASLIT RIGHT NOW?!?”

Don’t put people through that inner turmoil, you silly kumquats. If you need to pass along critical info, explain things plainly! Eschew the riddles and convolutedspeak. I’m talkin’ total transparency, okay?

And speaking of transparent, let’s also establish that ghosting or leaving people on read is equally unacceptable. Few things induce more anxiety than firing off an important Slack and watching the ellipses dance…dance…dance…only for your recipient to dip into a vortex of ????

Like, what’s the deal? Did they get distracted by a police battering ram crashing through their front door? Are they in the midst of a thermonuclear hot yoga sesh and can’t tap out a pithy “BRB”?

You just never know! But what you do know is that you now have a raging case of being-ignored-induced hives. Not. Cool.

The solution here is simple – even if your full response has to wait, take THREE SECONDS to acknowledge you’ve received the message. A quick “Got it, holler in a bit!” or “I’ll circle back on this am!” goes a million miles in setting the other person’s mind at ease.

Otherwise, you’re just leaving them to stew in a cauliflower-brained malaise of worst-case scenarios. And who wants cauliflower brain? Not this gal!

The Mic Drop 💥

You know, when you really break it all down…communicating online doesn’t have to be a fresh hell of overthinking and garbled meanings. By following the modest blueprint I’ve laid out, you can effectively doge 98% of online gaffes right out of thegate!


  • Be intentional with your communication modes (text for basics, audio/video for the hard-hitting stuff)
  • OVEREXPLAIN, you rascals!!! Give people allllllll the context.
  • Emojis = enemy of the state. Use them minimally or not at all.
  • Watch your tonality and facial expressions like a freakin’ hawk on video
  • For the love of Paul Bunyan, be CLEAR and DIRECT, not cryptic!
  • Keep your recipients looped in, even if it’s just to say “I’ll BRB!”

Follow these humble precepts and you’ll leave your botched IMs, unhinged Zoom rants, and garbled ramblefests firmly in the rearview, my friends. The digital world will be your chillaxed communication oyster!

So go forth and become the Demosthenes of DMs! The Aristotle of audio notes! The Xtra-Terressorial Orator! (Okay, I may have stunted a bit on that last one.)

Because at the end of the day, mastering online talk is all about being considerate. Stay considerate of your audience, the context, the medium. Keep oiling those lines of communication with a lil’ self-awareness here, a touch of emotional IQ there.

With some consistent practice in my teachings, you’ll be a bonafide ????WORDS WIZARD???? in no time! Maybe you’ll even get so good, you can start decrypting ancient runes and humbly ushering in the dawning of a new globally telepathic superspecies.

…Probably not, but a gal can dream, can’t she? Now get out there and start gassing people up in a respectful, straightforward way, you savages!

Luh y’all,
Michele ????