The Atlantic, “Kisses and Hugs in the Office”

December 1, 2012

Jessica Bennett and Rachel Simmons, “Kisses and Hugs in the Office” (The Atlantic, Dec. 2012)

At first, its virtual identity was clear: a pithy farewell, sweeter than See you later, less personal than Love. 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 e‑mails and IMs and tweets began to dilute its intimacy factor. “You could compare [it] to how the epistolary greeting Dear changed over time, originally just for addressing loved ones but eventually becoming neutral,” says Ben Zimmer, a linguist and lexicologist.

Read the rest here.

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