So here’s something I really don’t get: Why do we so often hear literary/editorial types decrying the shorthand that’s sometimes known as Internet slang? This includes terms like LOL, BFFL, FTW, IRL … you get the idea. I’d also include emoticons in this category (think symbols such as 🙂 and O_o).
As someone who’s passionate about language, I love internet slang—and not just because it helps me communicate with friends and family via Facebook and text, although that’s certainly part of it. I love it because it’s economical, to the point, and often highly impactful and expressive. And aren’t all those things hallmarks of good writing?
I’m not saying that throwing an IMHO or a ROFL into a sentence makes that sentence beautiful. In fact, there’s no doubt that some of the most poorly executed sentences out there contain many such terms. I’m just saying that terms like these get the point across effectively and easily. When paired with sentences that are otherwise grammatically sound, they express ideas in ways that fully-spelled-out words sometimes can’t.
Plus, if you love words and the way they evolve over time, don’t these expressions captivate you? They sure do me.
Librarians, teachers, writers, fellow editors: What are your thoughts on Internet slang? As always, I’d love to hear from you—opposing viewpoints included!