Someone recently repeated to me the old chestnut, “language changes”. I thought about this for a few minutes, and realized this was not actually correct. If anything, “language mutates”. Some of these mutations are useful, others are not, and need to be culled.
I was recently reading Alvin Toffler’s “The Third Wave”. This is one of those books that everyone should read. I would suggest that it be required reading in schools, but it highlights many of the flaws of the Second Wave education system, so very likely not going to happen! I was reading an article on the book, and right in the middle the author makes some comment like “LOL floppy disks”. I did not bother finishing that article. Other than chewing gum with your mouth open while wearing your baseball cap backwards with a tee-shirt saying “Im an Idiot”, I cannot think of a better way to negate any point you were trying to make.
I have, incidentally, worked with someone who would actually laugh out loud at the most trivial of things. It is nowhere as much fun as you might think, and he was a true idiot. On my DVD collection there is a cast interview with an individual who ends every answer he makes with a loud guffaw. It did not make him witty or affable.
Multi-talented comedian Bill Bailey has suggested that any use of LOL be immediately countered with “NELI” (Not Even Laughing Inwardly).
This highlights one of the main flaws in using LOL as a response. Generally it is applied to a comment that was not particularly funny, let along “laugh out loud” funny.
When made as a response to a statement that was not intended to be amusing, it is outright insulting.
Infinitely worse, however, is adding a LOL to your own comment. As the actor referenced above illustrates, laughing at your own jokes does not put one in a good light. It has been considered a social gaffe since long before the internet.
Before I escaped from facebook, I observed there was effectively a rule to using LOL. The rule was:
“If you want to add LOL to the end of a statement, what you said isn’t funny. If it isn’t funny, perhaps you should not say it and look stupid”.
True humour or wit does not need a “rim-shot” or other marker. People will be laughing without being instructed to do so.
Using “LOL” does not make you funny. Instead it comes across as an affected, pretentious, pathetic, self-indulgent plea for affirmation.