Sunday, 23 August 2009

about Acronyms and Meaningless Hashtags

Twitter’s the place for people who have leanings towards media, all things literary, technological, News and Current Affairs, right? I’ve come to look on it as a social media site that is somewhat more grown-up than Facebook ... more for “thinking” people – but these days, I’m confused.

Acronyms such as LOL, ROFL, ROLMAO and even the blasted “hehee” have been appearing within those precious 140 characters and I’m wondering why people are wasting their character allowance on using mindless abbreviations when, patently, most of them are capable of expressing themselves in far better ways.

I never did like Facebook very much. It seemed, to me, to be full of people who knew people who I’d only ever met once or twice – and some who I’d never met at all – wanting to be my friends and then having the utter temerity to wish me to view their holiday photos. Soon after joining Twitter, I closed my Facebook account as I was really only ever using it to play Scrabble with a friend who lives less than 2 miles away from me and I truly didn’t wish to be friends with people of whom I’d never even heard let alone met. I was also plagued by the “gifts” that these unknown “friends” kept sending to me ... “Here, LOL, have a model Beefeater to make your day” and “Hehee, don’t forget to send a gift back to me”. Go away. Leave me alone. They wouldn’t – so I closed my account and shuffled in a relieved but adult fashion back to Twitter where I could actually form relationships with people who are capable of expressing quite complex, interesting and often witty thoughts in a succinct manner and who didn’t Laugh Out Loud at everything and anything that anyone said.

But what’s happening now on Twitter? The LOLS, ROFLS and hehees are creeping in and the succinct expressions of intelligent thought are on the decline and, what’s worse, I’ve even started to receive Direct Messages from people who are sending me “cuddly duckies” and such like with requests for me to send Direct Messages containing cute teddy bears back to them. But at least – as yet – I’m not being asked to view the holiday photos of people whom I do not know (and probably do not want to know). I enjoy looking at the occasional, amusing or interesting Twitpic but thanks heavens – as yet – no holiday photos.

Something else has started to happen on Twitter that is beginning to get ever so slightly too far lodged up my nostrils for comfort and that is the advent of the #verylongandoftentotallymeaninglesshashtag. Oh – and the swearing. I’m no prude. In fact I can – and often do – swear like a trooper but I’m not going to waste my 140 characters at proving this dubious talent to anyone who might happen to be reading what I write. I’ve been known under very stressful circumstances to use the occasional asterisk if I want to make a point very rudely but it’s not something I do often as I believe I am more than capable of expressing displeasure using other words than the usual F***s, C***s and whathaveyous.

And all of these annoying little factors are being sent by people who I genuinely thought knew better than to do so.

They know who they are and, without wishing to be a killjoy, I wonder if I may politely ask them when they’re going to stop or – if they don’t want to stop, perhaps they could restrict these inane practices to Facebook where I think they more rightfully belong.

You see, I am not LOL-ing, ROFL-ing, ROFLMAO-ing or even heehee-ing and I suspect quite a number of other people aren’t either.


  1. LMAO #lookslikeyourknickersareinatwist You can think such thoughts but you aren't going to change Twitter by saying them. Just continue to ensure that your own tweets remain at Oxford english standard and hope it rubs off. Being the tart I am, I tend to echo the style of my addressee. If you don't find other content, this site should be renamed RedMummy grumbles on :) just saying

  2. Everyone is absolutely entitled to his/her own opinion as at least here in the UK, our world is, fortunately, still "free"! I've never been much good at echoing and am a self-confessed slave to our beautiful language but, hey, if you wish to use acronyms inter alia - it's entirely your decision! Thanks for the comment.

  3. I have 6 Twitter accounts and they are used for very different things (2 are corporate). The standard of twitterer is as expected given the very different groups these accounts are aimed at. At it's lowest I would put Twitter below Facebook partly as it seems to be far less regulated (or maybe because my Facebook "friends" really are my friends and the level of wit on my Facebook page is usually higher than on Twitter)

    ... but I do agree about the use of meaningless acronyms and hashtags. My own pet hate are tweets or status messages that start with OMG. Join with me to get OMG replaced by the far more descriptive COABB (Christ on a bendy bus). I also think all LOLs, ROFLMAOs, etc should be replaced by the more accurate MA (mildy amused)

  4. I have to say that I think COABB is brilliant and has the advantage of being bound to insult someone somewhere quite quickly. (Or to be more accurate - quite a lot of people in quite a lot of places VERY quickly). I may have lost a few followers through publishing this blog but I was becoming so frustrated I just had to let off a bit of steam. Thanks for YOUR comment.

  5. Well now, Karen. I feel you have stolen my thunder somewhat. My next blog post was to be about the LOLling that seems to be creeping into every orifice in cyberspace.

    I comfort myself with the fact that great minds think alike. I shall still embark upon the subject, but shall come at it from a different angle, so to speak.

    The 'heehee' thing, or similar, has a very long history. Chaucer uses the expression 'Teehee' in The Miller's Tale - this is thought to be the first such representation of laughter in print...

  6. Will now make occasional but very generous allowances for the use of "Teehee"! I VERY much doubt VERY that the people who actually use the term on Twitter are aware of its Chaucerian origins! Sorry to have stolen your thunder but thanks for your comment and, as always, will look forward to reading your next blog!

  7. I think it only feels that way, same with email. Some users will inevitably lapse into internet slang.