Monday, July 12, 2010
The LOL Gnome
I like to think I'm not snobby about many things, but I am a stickler for grammar. I likes my proper paragraphing and my correct spelling and my commas and dashes and quotes and periods all right where they should be. And I really prefer my sentences to be complete. Good heavens, am I bugged by lonely little incomplete sentence clauses. Unless it's done deliberately. For stylistic purposes. I would have made an outstanding English teacher.
This may be why I'm so annoyed, but also oddly fascinated, by the wave of electronic shorthand we've created in the last several years. It really is its own language, like Pig Latin of old or the Double Dutch I chattered with my friends in fifth grade (oh yes, we spoke Double Dutch, and therefore We. Were. Awesome). Except this new shorthand is actually, you know, useful. It sprang from necessity because most of us aren't patient or coordinated enough to punch out a full message on a cell phone key pad with our thumbs.
Still, you can imagine the turbulent adjustment period it took me to get used to all those abbreviations. When I first joined Facebook clear back in the fall of 2009 (late bloomer - that's me!), the onslaught of idk's and lol's, and omg's and btw's was enough to induce an eye twitch. During a Facebook chat with a Dear Friend of mine who happens to live across the country, I received my introductory lesson in the social networking lingo. It went something like this:
Me: *something amusing*
DF: laugh my a** off
Thanks to the foundation laid out in this exchange, I figured out the meaning of "lmfao" all by myself when I encountered it for the first time, not long after.
As Gnomes go, this is a puny one; not the kind to sabotage my creative energy or make me curl up into a little ball of anxiety. Rather, the LOL Gnome is just annoying. He likes to sit cross-legged in the corner of my kitchen and toss graham cracker crumbs at me while I'm at the computer. But I'm getting better. I can interpret almost any three to five-letter abbreviation now, although I still refrain from using them myself. I have been known to leave the occasional vowel or two out of my text messages. Maybe I should still go be an English teacher. Srsly #@$%! - I mean, seriously.