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.