We live in an age where the English language has been completely mutilated by 140 characters, where abbrev's (see what I did there?) have taken precedence over proper grammar and spelling. I'm OK with this since I'm not a language purist and believe that language is a living thing that constantly changes and evolves based on it's surroundings and usage. And with the advent of the Internet, the change in the English language has been exponential - lots of new terms and words are created seemingly everyday. In fact, you might say that a new subset of the English language has been created that's completely dedicated to the online world where words like "pwned" "fail" "brb" and "lol" are common place. It's that last term, "lol" that I've come to discuss today.
Now, I've never been a huge fan of LOL, lol, llloollll, lolz or any of it's other incarnations. For those not in the know, it means laughing out loud (although I don't know how you found this obscure blog if you don't know what LOL is). It's job is to convey the idea of one laughing when communicating online, but I don't think it does it's job particularly well. Laughter is not a straightforward thing. There are many types of laughter and varying degrees of laughter. LOL is just not flexible enough to properly capture how much or little I'm laughing and thus it loses all meaning. Especially when certain people (and you know who they are) use LOL in response to any comment (funny or not) and also proceed to place it at the end of every sentence they type. It's like some strange form of insecurity.
I think we've hit a LOL Saturation Point (or as I like to say LSP, mostly because I'm a firm believer that the Internet doesn't have enough acronyms). And I'd like to offer up a number of alternatives for you to add to your online arsenal.
I'm a big fan of using variations of "ha" to express my laughter. It has all of the versatility that I'm looking for. If I like something and it makes me smirk a simple "haha" will do. In fact, I can really change how intense my laughter is by just extending the number of "ha's" I string together. A smirk will only get a "haha" but a video of someone falling or getting kicked in the nads (btw, I haven't heard the word "nads" since at least grade 6) will get a "hahahahhahahah". Notice that I accidentally had an extra "h" in there. That was truly an accident but it helps to sell the sincerity of the laugh. If I'm reacting very strongly, I can add in capitalization - "HAHAHAHAHAHAHA". Man that was funny! If something is a surprising guffaw, try "HA!". If you want more of a nervous laugh, try "hehe". Although technically not a "ha", "hehe" is definitely in the same family. There are other variations too that I don't necessarily use but are also acceptable. "Bahahahaha!" is an example.
This is not to say that I don't use "LOL" but I prefer to use it specifically for occasions where I truly am laughing out loud. And I use it seldom enough that it maintains its relevancy and meaning.
Anyway, this is my lesson for the day. These are the things I think about. It's true. Ask my wife and anticipate the eye roll followed by a smirk. You might even get a "haha" out of her.