LiveScience.com claims a new study has found that college students typing on instant messaging systems like AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and the like are surprisingly formal.
I would love to meet all these “formal” people hanging out online. They certainly are not the people I usually talk to.
If I only had a dollar for every time I saw “LOL” on my screen. Apparently, I am quite the comedian because some people I talk to just cannot seem to stop laughing out loud. Tell a friend I am glad I get to actually sleep for more than eight hours and I might as well be David Letterman; my correspondent is laughing so hard.
Face reality: Half the time people type “LOL” they are not laughing out loud. Often times they probably are not laughing at all. Do you really think anybody has ever pulled an ROFL over an instant message? It is pretty hard to fall out of your chair. Even if you did pull that part off, proceeding to roll around on the floor like you ate bad chicken just does not seem likely.
If we are going to use slang and lingo, why not add some that describe how we really feel. Something like “loti” for laughing on the inside. If you’re laughing under your breath throw in an “lumb.”
You might also throw in an “IDRKHTRTWYJSSITATLI” for “I don’t really know how to respond to what you just said so I’ll type all these letters instead.”
When the acronym gets so long you actually have to stop and concentrate intently to figure out what it means, you are defeating the purpose of abbreviating things.
The study also claims that ollege kids are very good spellers. This also comes as a surprise. In my experience, instant messaging systems are excuses for typing too fast, thus causing you to misspell more words and leav ea letter off or adda letter that shouldn’t go there.
Let’s not forget contractions! I am usually more surprised to actually see an apostrophe used than left out.
Run-on sentences are also a problem the person just starts typing whatever theyre saying (notice no apostrophe) and thro n sum slang 4 u 2 look at they wont use punctuation n they wont even capitalize letters.
If you must use your slang and shortcuts with a complete lack of grammar and punctuation, make sure you do not let it spill over into your regular writing. If ever you start turning in assignments with your instant messaging shorthand, then it will be time to say the style has gtg. Ttyl.
John AllanThe Parthenon,Marshall University