L is for Lol

When you’re commenting on a blog, tweet, text or email it can be really hard to convey any emotion. Things can often be misread because you don’t have the visual cues that you have in every day conversation. Body language, facial expressions, tone of voice all let the other person know whether you’re being sarcastic, funny, sympathetic etc. I can be quite sarcastic in real life and have to be really careful not to offend anyone when answering. So I completely understand why we need ‘LOL’. Sort of.

I find it quite hard to actually type it. I have a couple of friends who use it in messages so I make myself use it too, I’m trying to acclimatise myself to it, build myself up gently so that before you know it I’ll be lmao with the rest of them. It feels strange and foreign though. Maybe I’m just weird. I also have trouble in real life shortening people’s names, everyone one else seems ok about it but it makes me feel self conscious.

I can manage a smiley face emoticon, and there was great excitement recently when I learnt how to do a poop emoticon on Facebook. I find those really useful (the smileys, not so much the poop once the novelty wore off, if I’m honest), a smiley at the end of something makes it quite clear that you’re just trying to be funny. (Although they can also be used as a passive-aggressive tool, I’ve seen lots at the end of quite nasty sounding ‘I’m not cross, HONEST, it’s fine!’ tweets, then they are the equivalent of a sickly smile through gritted teeth).

Maybe it’s the things that replace actual words that I don’t like, it makes me nervous. Where will it end? I’m someone who writes full sentences in a text,  no C U L8r from me. When you get a text from me you have to sit down and read it, appreciating the correct punctuation and paragraphs but it feels like it wont be long before we’re not using actual words any more, just symbols. We’ll meet up in the street and make a series of clicking sounds, drawing sad faces in the air with our stylus fingers.

Maybe I’m just old, or a bit slow on the uptake. Maybe in ten years I’ll write a novel using only emoticons and acronyms and funny squiggles and we’ll sit with kindles instead of hands and roffle at this blog post.

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “L is for Lol

  1. What I like about LOL is that it seems to represent genuine amusement. Typing “ha ha ha” could be taken as sarcastic laughter. If we were face-to-face, and I said something funny, and you replied “ha ha ha”–I might certainly assume you didn’t really find it funny. LOL, however, is descriptive, and much easier to take as a genuine, positive reaction.

    Writing’s all about communication, so ultimately, whether it’s text message abbreviations, clicks, or drawing faces in the air, it all counts. It may not be the most elegant or artistic form of communication. But perhaps as language and forms of language develop, people will come up with beautiful ways of expressing themselves in symbols and abbreviations. The pedant in me shudders at the thought; but life’s too short, and language is too rich and expressive, to be stifled by pedantry. That’s what I think. 🙂

    • Yes, I never know what to write when I find something funny, and haha does sound a bit sarcastic, although LOL is used so much I sometimes read it as being sarcastic. That wil always be a problem with the written word though, so we have to use other words to convey what we really mean instead of having one ‘fits every situation’ word/symbol.
      I think I need to accept that things are changing before I sound too much like my dad 🙂

  2. ROFL! When lol first came in it was competing against LOL – lots of love – so for me it always has to be lower case and I live in dread of sending entirely the wrong signal by mistake. I’m not crazy about it, handy though it may be – on Twitter I give up and unfollow those people who add it to every tweet, it becomes just too much like a nervous titter.

  3. If it helps any, I use LOL a lot, but I still write gramatically correct txt messages! (I just can’t bring myself to use all that txt speak!) It isn’t necessarily a slippery slop, and you can use one without the other.

    Rinelle Grey

  4. I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog, so I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Blogging Award.

  5. I agree with the necessity of using LOL and smiley faces to help show your tone. I also usually spell out words – but I do love that texting usually adds the apostrophe for me!

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