LOL, WTF, FTW, BTW, ROFL, LMAO and a host of other abbreviations, most of which I am too old to be privy to (I’m in my twenties, in case you’re wondering), are everywhere I turn. Now, I know these ‘textisms’ have a purpose; they save you time and character spaces when you’re writing a text message. And, although I choose not to use them myself, I can completely understand why someone would.
They have a function and if you want to respond to someone, via text message, to tell him or her that a joke was so hilarious that you were rolling around the floor for hours, clutching your stomach, until your sides hurt, then ROFL is a much more time efficient way of doing so. I get it, really I do!
What I cannot get my head around is why LOL and similar abbreviations have gone from that very functional use to being bandied about in places where the desire to reduce character length and fiddly texting time is not a factor. For example, I see LOL splattered liberally all over the status updates, comments and pictures of my friends’ Facebook pages. I have even seen LOL in a handwritten note. There’s no character limit when you use a good old fashion pen, so why the need for an abbreviation?
And the reason is two-fold: First, texting has made a lot of people incredibly lazy when it comes to communicating in written form. And second, so often, when LOL is written, the person doesn't really mean that they have laughed out loud at all.
Like evil Superman in Superman III, LOL seems to have taken on a life of its own. If we’re not careful, LOL will end up straightening the leaning tower of Pisa.
"But many people ram LOL on the end of every, usually mundane, sentence." -- loved that: they do! And then you need ROFL, as you say. I laughed my ass off :-) Good article!
Hey, Onepage! I haven't heard anyone say it and I wouldn't have believed that anyone would, until Jo (a few comments lower) confessed to her sins! It does seem very strange to me. After all, if you're actually laughing out loud, the person you're speaking with can probably tell that's what you're doing without being told.
Have you ever heard people say this to you whilst actually talking to them in person? I have and I was just shocked by it...saying lol at the end of what they just said to me just brought an image of a small yellow smiling emoticon in my mind and it was just ridiculous!
That's very kind of you, Jean. Thank you!
I really enjoyed your commentary on this issue!
Thanks Wrylit, always nice when other people share your (albeit pedantic) point of view.
Hi Generation X'er, thanks for your comment. I wasn't suggesting that "nerds" (in fact, didn't even use the word) or texters 'invented' it (sorry if it seemed that I was), was merely pointing out that this is the medium through which it spread like wildfire. The fact that these acronyms were created by folks on Usenet and the like is actually even more strange, because, surely, there was no need to limit character use?
Ryank, you make a good point, it seems some people use it to clarify their message - 'it's a joke, it's lighthearted' - because without the inflection of a voice or facial expression, it can be difficult to know how words are intended. Of course, the problem is that 'LOL' or even 'Haha' can be used sarcastically.
LOL, WTF, FTW, BTW, ROFL & LMAO were NOT brought about by lazy "text" nerds. They were introduced by those known as "Generation X" (much older than you) in chat rooms. The modern "text" nerds & kids like to take credit for "inventing" chat/text speak, but they are sadly mistaken. OMG WTF BBQ!
Well said! I personally think that LOL is what people say when they have nothing else to say - for instance someone says "So I'm bored" Answer: LOL!
Thanks Bhavesh, ThePartyAnimal and OnePageArticles, can't tell you how nice it is to know that I'm not alone. In the case of the coffee tweet of Facebook update, perhaps part of it's missing and it should actually be inviting readers to guess: latte or l'espresso - it's the only thing that makes any sense to me.
I hate the ones on Twitter or Facebook that people write on their statuses like "I just had a coffee LOL!" WTF's to laugh about!!!!!!!?