By Cole Williams
Designer of The Journal
There’s a lot of talk lately about social media and its merits and/or demerits. Although there’s a famous politician who can’t seem to sit on the toilet without tweeting, I’ll limit my discussion to Facebook, since that’s the platform most of us over-sixty adults seem to enjoy. Besides, the only time my iPhone comes to the bathroom with me is when I’m expecting an urgent call while answering an urgent call.
What with all the political acrimony, fake news and mawkish, “inspirational” religious posts, I have several times sworn off Facebook. I keep coming back to it, though, because it allows me to stay in touch with far-flung family and friends. I’d like to briefly explore two aspects of the platform here: acronyms and holiday e-cards.
Acronyms can be confusing, especially for us old folks. There’s the story of the mother texting her daughter: “Aunt Louise just passed away. LOL.” Turns out mom thought LOL meant “lots of love.” BTW, a true acronym can be pronounced, as in NASA and OPEC. Lots of internet acronyms are actually initialisms, which are spelled out loud, like ISP and CPU .
Usually I can figure out acronyms and initialisms by their context. When I can’t, I turn to the wiki website www.urbandictionary.com. Although the “Urban Dictionary” is helpful and often entertaining, I could have gone to my grave without knowing the definition of “Rusty Trombone.” That goes double for “Dirty Sanchez.” If you are easily offended, do not look these up.
Lately I’ve noticed people using internet initialisms in everyday speech, which I find silly. It takes exactly as long to say “Oh my God” as it does to spell out ”OMG.” These things are supposed to save typing time, as in ROTFLMAO. However, trying to pronounce ROTFLMAO out loud like a true acronym makes me LOL IRL.
OK, now I’ve confused myself. Let’s get on to holiday e-cards.
We’ve all seen them. Some are static, while others include animation and/or sound. Some allow users to paste photos of family and friends into the design and can be really funny. Many allow users to personalize the card with “From the Bergerons,” or whatever.
I recently visited a site that offered these cards for free. Their tagline was “Your friends won’t believe you did it yourself!” There are two good reasons for this. Your friends aren’t stupid and you didn’t do it yourself.
Once you have “done it yourself,” you can now hit the return key and send it to 3,000 people, each of whom will get the warm and fuzzies.
Really, these things aren’t so bad. As I said, some are pretty amusing. Personally, I’d rather see bad snapshots of peoples’ kids and pets, even if they’re not particularly attractive. Heck, that makes them seem even more real.
Finally, it will be interesting to see what happens to social media as we say goodbye to 2017 and net neutrality. It will be even more interesting to see what happens as our president frantically tweets us into 2018.