TEOTWAWKI (The end of the world as we know it)

by The Book Consultancy on July 21, 2014

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iStock_000030066358SmallProbably not the most aw-inspiring of blogs, but the most recent article I’ve read that sparked some talkative juices was letting the world know that the common acronym, LOL, had turned 25 years old in May of this year. As what normally happens when I hear about anniversaries, my mind skips back to the first time I had ever heard that word. After speaking with a friend of mine, we agreed we had never really heard the term LOL until the early to mid-nineties. If that was the case, LOL would only be 20 or so. My curiosity was peaked at that moment.

According to the article, the “oldest contemporary LOL” had “taken place on page 11 of an International FidoNet Association Newsletter dated 8 May 1989, sandwiched between a notice about new software releases and a brief articles about UFOs.” As many of us may know, the acronym LOL has been mistaken to mean “lots of love” instead of the infamous “laugh out loud.” As expected, there have been many unfortunate references to death announcements or sad texts that end with the unintentional “laugh out loud” meaning.

Instead of diving further into the hilarious history of an Oxford Dictionary resident, I wanted to stress out the uniqueness of what some could even call another language. We all know of many more (WTF, OMG, LMAO, TTYL, etc.) and there are even some long ones that some of us, me included, don’t even know why they exist. For example, GSYJDWURMNKH (“Good seeing you, just don’t wear your monkey hat”) or IYCSSNASDSAAA (“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”) or even the exaggerated laughing fit, LOLROTF&ICGU (“Laughing out loud rolling on the floor & I can’t get up”). If someone had texted me that, not only would I cringe at the all CAPs, thinking that person was yelling at me, but I would ask for clarification and make the person write it out anyway. Call me old school, I suppose.

Texting isn’t the only place we have seen this kind of language, however. Some books (YA is where I’ve seen it most prevalent) have an abundant amount of them. I have even seen books that only talked in that language. Some of my English professor friends (some who teach in America) have told me those acronyms even show up in essay writing at the university level!

Still, I am not writing this because I think this new way of communicating is wrong. More like I find it fascinating and I am a little jealous of the individuals who can speak so fluently in these acronyms and understand each other. There are many good books with that language in it and if your target audience is able to understand the letters you display before them, that is great, I just may not be one of them.

So, perhaps the moral of this blog is know your audience, and know how to use the language you are expressing in order to tell the story you want to share.

But for now, TMSAISTI (“That’s my story and I’m sticking to it”). 😉

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