Five Forms of Internet Shorthand That Make You Sound Like a 14-Year-Old Girl

Five Forms of Internet Shorthand That Make You Sound Like a 14-Year-Old Girl

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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.

This week…

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.

Kthxbye.

Check out more of Justin’s writing on his blog, esteban was eaten!.

  • Mike

    To be honest if you use IM a lot-like GMail’s team- lol -It’s certainly better than the three-letter combination that everyone hates to read. No, it’s not.
    It is in an email, where you’re typing it at length- IM is all about speed, and if you take 5 seconds to transcribe your laughter then you’re clearly missing the idea of IM.

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  • http://rodgerjames.blogspot.com Rodger

    My sister and my mom both use ‘ty’ for ‘thank you’ or ‘yw’ for ‘you’re welcome’. It actually makes it sounds lazy and not at all sincere.
    .-= Rodger´s last blog ..Cut It Out, VOL 1: Supercouples =-.

  • Jeff Barnett

    I consider myself an adept writer, but I still use some of the shorthand mentioned above when IM’ing and texting. I do, however, dislike it when people use those abbreviations in every single written communication. That gets tired quickly. If I’m typing a full comment, such as this one, then I won’t use abbreviations, nor will I use abbreviations in lengthy emails. However, while using IM and SMS I will continue to lol, say ty, and sign off with ttyl because neither me nor the party with which I’m communicating thinks it has any bearing on my intelligence.

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  • http://prettywittyrant.blogspot.com Janae

    I’ve always been a hardcore texter and always prided myself on avoiding the annoying abbreviations like the ones you listed.

    OTOH, when you’re trying to be sensitive to the person you’re texting (maybe they still have a limited text plan), it’s best to limit your words to fit in just *one* message.

    As such, I would go through my finished message and delete vowels from words and replace “and” with &’s and remove my ellipses that I am so fond of…

    I use “ha,” “heh” or a smiley instead of “lol” …mostly. <_<

    BTW, are emoticons acceptable?

    What about "btw" "omw" and "fhth?" So I made up that last one, but Fucking Hell That's Hilarious!