I realize that the time I spend thinking about how much I hate the overuse of “lol” could be better spent hating things like famine or factory farms or adults still wearing Livestrong bracelets (all things I do hate when they come to mind, by the way), but those things aren’t thrown in my face everyday. Every single goddamn day, I see those three pathetic little letters. And they’re lying (and more often than not, filling in where a punctuation mark should be).
Earlier today, my friend sent me a text that said, “Damn I took my camera out. A lot of these pics I messed up lol”. I’m almost positive that when he sent that, he was trying to convey to me that he was disappointed that although he took his camera out to take pictures today, a lot of the pictures didn’t come out the way he wanted them to. I don’t think that he wanted to convey to me that upon seeing the pictures, he started laughing out loud.
I realize that a lot of informal speak eventually becomes the norm. I get that this is how language is developed. Just look at the use of “gonna”- it’s not in the dictionary, but in regular correspondence, it’s accepted. I guess I just hate the sheer dishonesty of “lol”- [most of the time] you are NOT laughing out loud.
I used to use “lol” on AOL Instant Messenger. It was a quick way to tell Stargrl224 that whatever she was saying had me snorting in front of the computer screen in my basement. Back in my day, when we said we were laughing out loud, by god we were LAUGHING-OUT-LOUD!
Sometimes when I feel like cringing, I look at my younger cousins’ interactions on social media. A few years back, while stalking to see if they had started underage drinking yet, I found that they and all their friends were hitting “l-o-l” with as much ease and frequency as the space bar. It wasn’t long until I realized that to them, “lol” was the nervous laugh/smile that they gave in regular conversations. Ever notice how oftentimes when talking to a teen, they smile uncomfortably or giggle? THAT’S “LOL”!
“truth is (insert teenager’s name). you’re really nice and cool man. i see you around school sometimes but i dont have any classes with you lol.”
That child actually used a period, which is nice, but there’s your nervous laugh.
Really though, as much as the teens’ use of “lol” causes me to lose faith in the intelligent evolution of the English language, it’s the full grown adults “lol-ing” that get to me. I read a tweet the other day that said, “’Haha’ people are smarter than ‘lol’ people”. My boyfriend never uses “lol” and that’s part of why I love him. Neither does my best friend. Or, come to think of it, most of my closest friends. The ones that do have slipped through the cracks. What can I do at this point other than frequently point out how annoying it is that they correspond like 12-year-olds? I know you might be thinking, “Just accept it! It doesn’t mean that anymore.” What-ev-er. As long as “lol” stands to exist, I will roll my eyes when I read it.