Do U LOL When IM’ing Your BFF or Do You Just Say NM ?

This is a guest post by Cheryl Posey.  She is a licensed and nationally certified speech pathologist that focuses on Accent Reduction and Communication Skills Training.  You can find and follow her on her Speaking Your Best



Online Acronyms

Image courtesy of smarnad /

My, how the world of communication has changed in recent years!  Remember when we used to use a real telephone to call our friends, we actually wrote letters to people, we went to our friend’s house and knocked on their door to speak with them, and we actually had real conversations?   All that is now changing, especially with young adults. With the development of smart phones, iPads, Facebook, Twitter, mini iPads, and tablets, the “old” way of communicating is experiencing some big changes.  Texting, emails and messaging are replacing phone calls and are turning into acronyms, new slang, and single words and phrases with no punctuation or capital letters. 

Acronyms are not only appearing in texts and messages, some are actually being adopted into the Oxford English Dictionary as acceptable words. LOL (laugh out loud), OMG (Oh, my God), BFF (best friends forever), and IMHO (in my humble opinion), are among 900 new words and slang recently added to this dictionary.  If we are to keep up with the times, we have to quickly learn and understand the latest acronyms, just we can understand what others are saying.  One almost needs decryption software just to decipher some of the new and popular acronyms used today!

Have you noticed that many people don’t have house phones anymore? They just have cell phones (which they hardly answer).  More often than not, rather than calling someone on the phone, they text the person they want to talk to.  This is quicker and they don’t have to deal with actually having to talk to them in person.  The result is an impersonal message filled with acronyms, short phrases and abbreviations for words that sometimes need some translation efforts before the message is understood correctly.  Today’s youth and adults are beginning to lose their social communication skills.


Let’s look at an example of information a text message might contain:

My “BFF” (best friend forever) texted me to say “sup” (what’s up?).  I was talking on my other line at the time, so I had to tell her “BRB” (be right back).  She is very easy-going and said, O RLY?” (Oh, really?), “NP” (no problem). When I responded, she wanted to know if I wanted to go to a movie and I said “w/e” (whatever).  OTOH (on the other hand), it might be nice to go to the mall, but NM (never mind), I just went there the other day.  Maybe dinner at a nice restaurant would be better.  We are both indecisive, and ROFL (rolled on the floor laughing).  In the end, we said L8R, xoxoxo (kisses).  


Here is what the text would actually look like:

Speaker 1: sup?

Speaker 2: brb on other line

Speaker 1: o rly? np

Speaker 2: back

Speaker 1: k movie?

Speaker 1: w/e

Speaker 2: otoh, dinner? 

Speaker 1:  ROFL

Speaker 2: ROFL

Speaker 1:  Call u L8L

Speaker 2:  xoxo <3


While we all need to change with the times, it becomes worrisome to see that many people’s social language and written language skills are declining because of the effect modern technology has allowed.  Too often, we are in a hurry to get things done and do not or will not to take the time to engage in real conversations. Our language skills are deteriorating, and we do not even realize it. Although I am all for modern technology and the many benefits it has to offer, I still take time out in my daily life to stop and smell the roses.  


Question:  What your favorite online acronym?  

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