Photo by PictureYouth
By Justin Brown
Every Friday, I’m compiling a list of five things that meet one criterion. “What is that criterion,” you ask? Well, it’s going to change every week and you’re just going to have to try and keep up.
Five Forms of Internet Shorthand That Make You Sound Like a 14-Year-Old Girl
Somehow, in the process of every aspect of our world getting faster, the Internet culture at-large decided it would be better if we were to condense words rather than merely having us learn to type them faster.
Unfortunately, none of this makes anyone seem smarter, older, or more science-fiction-futuristic; using any of the terms listed below just makes your messages read like those of a kid from junior high who is frantically texting under his or her desk. So… stop using them.
5. u [‘you’]
Are we now at the point where typing two additional letters is simply too much to ask? Now three-letter words aren’t short enough? Really? Everything else on this list at least has a reasonable cause to be shortened, based purely on the number of letters and words involved but this one is just monumentally pathetic. Reducing a three-letter word’s length by 66% is akin to wearing sweatpants in public; you’re announcing to the world “I have given up.”
4. TTYL [‘talk to you later’]
Between saying “TTYL” and speaking like Tigger (“TTFN – Ta Ta For Now!”), I will choose the phrase coined by the legendary animated tiger, ten times out of ten. Truthfully, this is the most offensive form of shorthand as it is essentially telling your online counterpart “I don’t have time, energy, or interest enough to give you a proper good-bye.” Other acronyms are happening, rapid-fire, in the midst of a conversation or to quickly encapsulate an emotion but this one is the bookend for a chat and even at that distinct moment, you can’t give your friend a formal farewell? Come on.
3. kthx [‘okay, thanks’]
When you say “thanks” to somebody, there are two possible reasons why you would do this: a) they did something for you, b) they are going to do something for you. So clearly, this person deserves gratuity. And how do you choose to best accomplish this? You merge a phrase together and disgustingly abbreviate the operative word in that expression. If I do someone a favor and they give me a “thx,” I’m going to renege on the agreement. Then, maybe they’ll learn.
2. OMG [‘oh my God’]
Aside from the fact that you risk offending steadfastly religious people by using their Lord’s name in vain, when you say “OMG,” you’re using arguably the most annoying and horrible Internet abbreviation in existence. If it’s a question of typing efficiency, and you must encapsulate your surprised reaction to something in three letters or less… what’s wrong with “wow”? This one is particularly heinous, as it has translated to the human speech zeitgeist in the form of people actually pronouncing these three letters aloud rather than saying the phrase from which the shorthand was derived. So, please, I beg you: don’t type it and – for the love of G – do not say it.
1. LOL [‘laugh(ing) out loud’]
Truthfully, we probably actually needed a nice phrase to communicate laughter online because, at some point, typing ‘hehe’ or ‘haha’ just doesn’t do it. However, LOL is also failing to get the job done and thus, it is the absolute worst due to the fact that there is a need for something in this realm yet the “best” we can do is an abomination. There’s still a void. I hope we conquer this problem in my lifetime. For the time being, however, there’s nothing better than telling someone “I am literally laughing out loud, right now” or “sorry, I was laughing and couldn’t type.” It’s certainly better than the three-letter combination that everyone hates to read.
In conclusion: type like a man.