It might have started with LOL. Not sure. My Internet experience dates to 1998, but my chatting with other folks came several years later.


We need a new dictionary. Not for new words---for new abbreviations and acronyms.

I remember, as a youngster, happening upon my mom's old shorthand tablet, from the days when she was a secretary. I can still see the hieroglyphics on the spiral bound pages. How in the world, I thought, could anyone make heads or tales out of this gobbledygook?

My wife was also in clerical work, and she used to write in shorthand as well. She kept some of her old tablets, too.

It's getting to where the "shorthand" that people use on the Internet, thanks to Social Media, is almost as undecipherable to me as the Gregg shorthand stuff from back in the day.

I know the basics (see above examples), lest you think me a total Luddite.

But the use of abbreviations and acronyms is getting out of hand. I can't keep up.

As usual when it comes to anything computer-related, it's time to pick the brains of the adolescents and the 18-to-25 year-old crowd. They always know best, it seems.

But a teen isn't always handy. So I'm left to decipher this Internet "code" all by myself.

Our boss the other day used PMA in an email message. The tone was that of personal happiness and a positive outlook on life.


Now, some of you reading this right now might be barking out the definition of PMA, like you're watching a game show on TV, and I'm the goofball, dufus contestant.

I didn't have a teenager handy (nor my 20-year-old daughter), so I Googled PMA.

It took me awhile to find anything that was remotely appropriate, given the nature of the e-mail.

PMA= Positive Mental Attitude.

I guess we're all in a hurry---to write.

How else to explain the rampant use of abbreviations? Text messaging is to blame, I think. Texting has given birth to its own language, just about---and that language despises words or phrases that might be hard on the thumbs.

So we get stuff like PMA, and YKWIT.

You heard me---YKWIT.

Someone actually used that one on me, in a Facebook comment.

No Google this time. I asked the culprit what the hell YKWIT means.

"You know what I think," was his reply.

I think that one's a stretch.

First, no fair using a word in an acronym where the first letter is silent. That's just plain evil.

Second, you're on Facebook. Why not just write, "You know what I think"?

I mean, I asked and you had to write it anyway...right?

OK so maybe he was commenting using his phone. Maybe he was short on time---hence YKWIT.

How much of a time saver is typing YKWIT vs. "You know what I think"? Maybe four, five seconds?

YKWIT was in all caps, which is an added step to the texting process, by the way (or, BTW).

The over-reliance on Internet shorthand is going to cause some trouble, I think---if it hasn't already.

This is what I see, sometimes, when I try to read some Internet "shorthand"

Don't you think we're going to start using this "language" so much, that eventually multiple acronyms are  going to be "spelled" the same but hold different meanings? Kind of like Internet homonyms? Couldn't that cause confusion, hurt feelings, or worse?

Blog sites like Tumblr, which are filled with "fan girls," use abbreviations for their favorite celebrities. But that's OK, because they all know who they're talking about. It's when those kids cross-pollinate and start using those abbreviations with us non-hipsters, where some confusion can set in. They sometimes forget to whom they're addressing.

The acronyms of the 21st century are seeping into non-Internet life. A popular one being used lately by retail outlets is BOGO---buy one, get one (free).

Again, feel free to denounce me, but I had no idea what BOGO meant until I asked a co-worker, who seemed to know it, cold. So maybe I missed the bus on BOGO.

I try not to use too many of these new "words," as much as I can help it. Sure, I'll do a LOL or a BTW or even a FWIW (for what it's worth), but other than those, I spell words and phrases to their full capacity.

My "cheat" while texting is dropping apostrophes, so "don't" becomes "dont", etc.

The fear that I have is that folks are just coming up with their own acronyms, like my Facebook friend with YKWIT, which I have yet to see used by anyone else, anywhere.

I tell you what, it sure gives new meaning to the phrase, "in your own words."

Because some of us, I think, truly have them.


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