To LOL or not to LOL

Lol (laugh out loud) is an acronym used prolifically across the internet and in text messages. According to a nationwide survey, 61% of us regularly use LOL in text messages but only 9% have ever actually LOLed because of something they wrote in a text.  So why do we use it so much?

The reasons for using LOL are not as simple as reflecting our actual actions. We are probably not laughing out loud when we use the acronym but are using it to communicate on a more personal level.

In computer / mobile based conversations, the only way to communicate emotion is through text.  LOL is just one widely recognised way of doing this. There is also a difference between lower and uppercase LOL too. Lol is more subtle in its connotations and it’s unlikely you will be laughing aloud when used. Depending on context it can mean:

– to show light-hearted intentions

– to imply sarcasm

– to show we expect the recipient to find it funny

– to show astonishment

– to show you find something quite funny (but not actually laugh aloud funny)

LOL on the other hand is used less frequently and is specifically for when something is funnier than lol. Then there are extensions to this – LMAO (laughing my ass off), ROTFL (rolling on the floor laughing) or even ROTFLMAO (rolling on the floor laughing my ass off) – you probably would be laughing out loud using these but are unlikely to actually roll around on the floor!

Perhaps to silence the critics of excessive use of lol we should start using LOTI – laughing on the inside.


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