Do you recognize each of those abbreviations? If not, they stand for:
Laughing on line.
Rolling on floor laughing.
Parents over shoulder.
Talk to you later.
Ta ta for now.
I wonder how many times each day, those and other shortcuts like them are transmitted via text or instant message, or email. I think it would be even more interesting to know the age breakdown of the folks using those abbreviations. Are they the vernacular of teenagers? Twenty-somethings? Or Baby Boomers?
Actually, they are used by all age groups.
Does all the text messaging, emailing, commenting on blogs, and other forms of shortcutting impact the quality of our writing such that tomorrow’s adults will be less competent writers?
The results of a recent survey might surprise you, as they did me.
I never hand-write documents other than checks, a note for the cleaning lady or the occasional Hallmark card. I began typing all of my work in high school and continued right through law school (I typed every law school exam, and even took a back-up typewriter with me to the Bar Examination, lest my well-used Brother conk out in the middle of an essay question).
However, a new survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project revealed that two-thirds of American high school students complete their assignments by hand, rather than using the computer. In fact, for personal writing outside school, longhand is even more popular. It is the preferred form for nearly three-quarters of teens. Not as surprisingly, teenagers who blog are more likely to engage in personal writing and tend to believe that writing will prove crucial to their eventual success in life.
Their parents were found more likely than teens to believe that Internet-based writing such as e-mail and instant messaging affects writing overall, though both groups are split on whether the electronic communications help or hurt. Nonetheless, 73 percent of teens and 40 percent of parents believe Internet writing makes no difference either way.
However, two-thirds of the students who responded to the survey admitted that abbreviations such as those listed above and emoticons like have slipped into their school assignments and other formal writing. In fact, not surprisingly, they are more likely to find their way into the work of students who blog or use sites such as Facebook or MySpace.
Parents and teenagers disagree on the question of whether such informal writing impacts young people’s development of formal writing skills. 73 percent of the teens believe that internet writing techniques make no difference and do not effect their ability to write well in other settings, but only 40 percent of the parents who answered the survey questions felt the same way.
What do you think? Have you caught an occasional “LOL” or “TTYL” slipping into your business correspondence or formal writing? Or did it happen without you noticing so that it was brought to your attention by the recipient of the communication? Is “internet writing” having any impact upon your real world skills? Leave a comment!