Remember the days when the Internet first started and all of a sudden there was this new language to learn?
I think they called it ‘net-speak’ or something as innovative as that.
My first experience of such a phenomenon was the emoticon, back in 1994. I was one of those dorky Uni guys that would spend most of the day in the computer labs discovering this new thing called ‘The Internet’ which meant that I could talk to random strangers on the other side of the world IN REAL TIME.
I mean, how cool was that? I was saying something and then someone else was saying something back, and it’s not even a phone!
So, anyway, I was using Telnet to connect to these servers which hosted things called MUDS, or MUCKS where you would connect to a virtual world as a character and then go around talking to people, jumping around and being a fool or doing other such unsavoury activities that a 17 year old might do. Especially when you are 17 year old that spends all day in a computer lab.
I digress. I started noticing people were ending their sentences with 🙂 or ;). I thought it was some sort of way to end a sentence, or that they had simply added extra random characters at the end of their line.
Then one day, someone told me to turn my head to the left.
All of a sudden, 🙂 became something different altogether.
Over the coming years we would be bombarded with every emoticon possible. Even Slash uses his special Slash emoticon on this twitter feed – Iii|; )
Not only was the emoticon an innovation, so were the net acronyms. The first one I came across was brb, closely followed by bbs, atm, irl and ttfn. Although to be fair, ttfn was stolen from Tigger.
Of course, the big one. The real doozy of a netcronym (like what I did there?) is LOL. Fucking Laugh Out Fucking Loud. It shits me. It always has. I have never used it. I don’t laugh out loud very often I guess, but really, does anyone that writes LOL really Laugh Out Loud when they are typing? Based on my in-depth research I would say. NO.
Instead, I use the eloquent and succinct ‘hehehe’. You see, it gives the impression that you think something is funny with a little snigger, but doesn’t go over the top with the whole boisterous laugh about something not very funny.
The even weirder thing is that nowadays the old acronyms are becoming everyday vernacular.
People are LOLing and OMGing all over the place. I have been known to drop to odd ZOMG and FFS as well.
I have no problem with this, for the most part. I feel that I am a part of the generation that helped to bring The Internet to the masses and reveal this whole other side of geekdom.
I may not use telnet any more, but it’s sure nice to know that 16 years later there are still remnants of those first few weeks of ‘online’ time that live on today..
Oh yeah, and enjoy this clip 🙂