July 12, 2013 by T. Gregory Argall
When I see internet text acronyms, I try to pronounce them as written.
“Lmao.” (sounds like a French cat)
I do this because it amuses me and it’s a subtle, symbolic poke in the eye to the Internet Generation who felt the need to create these acronyms in the first place because they are, of course, the first generation in the history of human communication to be burdened with the challenge of expressing these concepts in a written format.
Prior to text messages and email, all communication on this planet was, apparently, verbal. It was easy to tell if someone was laughing out loud because you could actually hear them laughing. This simple, low-tech form of expression was quite prevalent on television and before that on black-and-white television which was more commonly known as radio. Before radio, people just didn’t communicate.
So, as you can see from the last few sentences, symbolically poking the Internet Generation in the eye is just something I like to do every chance I get.
I also question the honesty of text acronyms. When someone types ROTFL in an email reply or under a Facebook photo caption or on their phone(!), I think they’re lying.
And they are.
“You’re rolling on the floor laughing right now? Really? You’re at work, not doing your job, hiding in your cubicle, hoping nobody noticed that you got sidetracked in your illicit search for Bea Arthur porn on the company computer and you found a picture of a cat that wants to haz a cheezburger and suddenly you fell out of your chair onto the floor and you are laughing while rolling about attracting a huge amount of unwanted attention? Really? First of all, that stupid cat isn’t that funny. It’s just not. It’s more annoying than anything and learn to spell, damn it! Secondly, you’re lying.”
I like to use more accurate and factual acronyms… TWMATFTTSSITMBRHWSEOTSCBN?
(This was mildly amusing the first ten times someone sent it to me but really haven’t we seen enough of this stupid cat by now?)
I like to think that someone will try to pronounce that as it’s written, but frankly, expressing real, complex, intelligent thoughts through acronyms can get a little unwieldy. Four or five letters is pretty much the top end limit for a text acronym, due to the Internet Generation’s miniscule attention span which, in comparison, makes a goldfish seem as task-focused as Sisyphus. So I’ve tried to come up with some simple acronyms that hopefully will catch on and add a degree of honesty to text messages and email.
CQTM (chuckling quietly to myself)
SAN (smiling and nodding)
ABKOD (amusing but kind of dumb)
TIS (this is stupid)
TCAF (these cats aren’t funny)
LTS (learn to spell)
AW2H4U (are words too hard for you?)