The Written Word in Decline: Social Communication

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Young Woman's Hands Holding Red Smart Phone

Social Communication is, indeed, a Culprit

Several years ago, like any other who embraced the cell phone, I took up texting.  And Facebook.  And then came Twitter.  And multiple other forms of social communication through the quickly written word.  I fell in love with it and how it was so easily integrated into my life.  I use it daily and nightly.  It is how I communicate with my kids.  It is how I communicate with extended family, with friends, with co-workers, and I also use it continually in my marketing efforts for my writing and company where I work.  I love the speed of use, delivery, and receipt.

…But Also a Benefactor

We have learned to more succinctly speak to each, to get to the point more quickly, as well as absorb or implement new details and new modes as they occur.  The hand-written letter became somewhat a thing of the past as homes and families shifted to telephones/landlines.  Telephone conversations became somewhat a thing of the past as personal computers became more popular and email was adopted.  Cell phones took oral communication on the road and we saw a resurgence of the spoken communication, that is until texting and mobile internet said “Ha”.  Sadly, a whole new kind of shorthand has been invented and accepted by almost everyone.

Shortcuts or Shortfalls?

I am all about shortcuts, but I am a lifelong, passionate English student.  I have been unable to embrace some of the acronyms that grace status updates, mentions, and text messages today.  IMHO – really?  If it were truly your “humble” opinion, you’d keep it to yourself.  ROFL (which I thought was cute) soon gave way to ROFLMAO – which is an image I don’t really need.  But, interestingly enough, the one I WILL never get behind and literally have never used, ever?  LOL – it was even hard for me to type it here.  I hate it.  I freaking hate it.  I can’t stand it.  Trust me, I am not completely humorless, I will write haha, hehe, HI-larious, or even a simple burst of “HA!” when I read something or come across something I find funny.

Why do I refuse to LOL?

It may have something to do with my language sensibilities, it also bothers me that it gets plugged in at the end of almost every online sentence, and it just grinds on me, like downshifting to first gear from fourth in a ’67 bug.   “Onliners” who believe they are funny or who try to flirt <gag> think this old standard will excuse anything they happen to drop off at the pool, I mean emit, oops, I mean write.

Words are important to me.

I try not to be careless with my own brand of humor.  I will laugh at what you say, but rarely laugh at my own jokes.  LOL dropped at the end of your own sentence is like saying, “Don’t I look pretty in the close-up selfie?”  Umm, well, no – actually you don’t. It looks just like the picture you posted ten minutes ago.  (I confess that I am guilty of posting too many pics of sunsets, waves, and glasses of wine – it’s a fault I can live with.)

Wit or humor should naturally occur in the receiver, not be ferociously primed like the driest pump in Oklahoma, or require an ill-written, overused, insipid provocation.  This is the only time you will ever see me write this overused non-word and totally unworthy acronym. After begrudgingly already writing it three times here, sorry, I can’t bring myself to write it again.   I am one of those actual grown-ups that texts and tweets. You can expect full sentences and commas from me.

Yes, humor is important to me, but so are words.

 

by Rayanne Thorn

 

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Comments

  1. Rayanne, sadly I hear my middle schooler actually use LOL like a word in a speaking sentence! When short cuts become part of the spoken word… what are we to do? Yikes.

    Reply
    • My high schoolers say “Lols” all the time! Drives me mad!
      We have to retain the beauty of the “haha” – the beauty and joy of well-written words…

      Yikes is right…

      Reply

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