DBEYR: Don’t Believe Everything You Read

August 7th, 2009

A cute article in today’s Wall Street Journal brought me to the site www.netlingo.com. The About section includes:

People tell me everyday “it’s tough to keep up with all of this new technology!” I tell them “you’re not alone!” It used to be that understanding the Internet was only for computer professionals and web design folks. Now you see technology permeating our lives everywhere and you realize that knowing Internet technology and online communication is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity.

…If you’re a professional who feels like you’re on information overload or a parent who wants to keep up with what your kids are talking about, NetLingo can help you!

NetLingo has been the leading Internet dictionary since 1994 helping millions of people understand the online world of business, technology and communication. And now we’ve just launched a new website with updated terms, tips, and tools to keep you in the know.

And as the Wall Street Journal article points out:

As text-messaging shorthand becomes increasingly widespread in emails, text messages and Tweets, people…are scrambling to decode it. In many offices, a working knowledge of text-speak is becoming de rigueur. And at home, parents need to know the lingo in order to keep up with—and sometimes police—their children.

One reason for the surge in texting abbreviations—more than 2,000 and counting, according to NetLingo—is the boom in social-media sites like Twitter, where messages are limited to 140 characters. Text messages, too, are limited in length, so users have developed an alphabet soup of shorthand abbreviations to save time, and their thumbs.

I remember when I first encountered ‘LOL’, and wondering, as does someone quoted in the WSJ article, if it meant “lots of love.” Nope, it means “lots of laughs” and seems to be used mainly when there’s nothing obviously humorous in the message.

Clearly NetLingo is a vital resource to the future of publishing as the Internet continues to have an ever-increasing impact on our language.

August 15, 2011: c.f. the Urban Dictionary.