Why We Should Retire LOL

Video game journalist Leigh Alexander explores the history and usage of the ubiquitous abbreviation.

Video game journalist Leigh Alexander has written an interesting piece at Thought Catalog which calls for the end of the use of the ever-popular LOL.

Citing the empty and widespread peppering of LOL in all kinds of conversations, Alexander looks at the origins and eventual degradation of the abbreviation. She explains:

‘Emoticons’ or ‘emotes’ as some people call them or ‘emoji’ because they wish they were Japanese/like to insert expressive icons using their iPhone have transitioned into the ‘new millennium’ [itself a woefully dated term] much more naturally than acronyms such as ‘lol’ and ‘lmao.’ One can only theorize at why this is the case. Seems like those accustomed to using the internet as a primary platform of communication do make some concession that it is necessary to indicate tone, especially since much of the humor that arises from text communication can be abrupt, harsh or extremely inappropriate out of context.

… Most importantly, despite the fact that most people have never wholly appreciated ‘lol’ or been entirely comfortable with its usage, ‘lol’ has become so prolific and permanent that it has lost its actual intent. Those who type ‘lol’ are most likely not, in fact, ‘laughing out loud;’ they are at best expressing approval of the humor under employ. Thus in situations where they literally vocalize their laughter – in fact being genuinely moved to ‘laugh out loud’ while at the computer or while holding their cell phone – the use of ‘lol’ does not quite suffice. It appears dismissive or perfunctory.

Thought Catalog: “A Call to End the Use of “Lol””

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