Within this newly created form of communication, there is no way to convey true emotion, sarcasm, or intention. Let us begin with the ever-familiar “haha.” First of all, this is way too overused. I recently did a case study of an avid texter whom we will call Matt. In over 100% of Matt’s texts, there was a “haha” inserted and, in most cases, this was simply used as filler and was completely unnecessary. But secondly, it is almost impossible to tell if the “haha” is being used sarcastically or not. If I text my colleague, Matt, saying, “Bro, I just saw your girl flirting with some guido at the club,” and he responds, “haha,” does he think I am joking, and thus the “haha” is sarcastic? Or on the other hand, is he sincere and actually amused that his girlfriend is being adulterous? Far too often the receiver is left in the dark concerning the sender’s intentions, causing much of the unnecessary confusion.
The second overused texting component is smileys. These emoticons are as prevalent in text messages as tanning beds on the Jersey Shore. And once again, as with “haha,” there is no way to transmit what the sender actually means. For example, if a lady friend ends her text with a “;),” is she simply being playful, or instead trying to seduce me? I am left clueless. So when I show up to your house with a bottle of wine and chocolate dipped strawberries, do not be so surprised. Another major problem with smileys is that there is no cross compatibility between devices. A smiley sent from a Blackberry will not necessarily be interpreted the same way on an iPhone, resulting in even more disorder within this limited texting language.
Furthermore, who decided that “LOL” was a socially acceptable word to use? I will guarantee you that in less than one percent of the time is someone actually laughing out loud. But the main problem is that this simplistic acronym started off strictly as a texting term but has infiltrated its way into everyday conversation just as Justin Bieber has into the hearts of millions.
The language of texting has trapped many of its users, from Senator Anthony Weiner of the notorious Weinergate scandal to our good friend Brett Farve. It has plagued marriages and ruined friendships. But let us be real, texting can have its moments. It is perfectly designed for that awkward social situation when that creeper you do not want to talk to keeps trying to make eye contact, prompting you to whip out your phone and act like you are too important to talk to him or her.
Texting can be a great tool, but use it foolishly, and like Jason Derulo, you’ll be ridin’ solo. If everyone would just mean what they say, everything would run smoothly.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what grinds my gears.
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