By Valerie Mcallister
Living in a hustle-and-bustle and always-on-the go society makes for a fast-paced lifestyle.
Social media and texting have hindered our ability to grammatically make correct points.
Society would rather take the easy way out than take a few extra seconds to make sure a message is presentable and comprehensible. Initialism is used often through communication in writing. Initialisms are the abbreviating of phrases and/or words to save space, save time, or to just be lazy.
There are many reasons why people use initialism when communicating.
Some popular examples include LOL and BRB, often used in text messages to stand for ‘laugh out loud’ and ‘be right back,’ respectively.
Other examples include FBI and CEO, to stand for ‘Federal Bureau of Investigation’ and ‘Chief Executive Officer’.
According to the website Daily Writing Tips, an initialism is any abbreviation in which each initial is pronounced.
Initialisms are used by everyone, including me, although I don’t pride myself in the usage of such.
These are time saving mechanisms to keep the writer from exerting any energy. However, are they causing confusion between the writer and the reader doesn’t understand the intialism? This “easy way out” actually requires more time explaining if the reader does. I would think older generations, who recently began using text messaging, Twitter and Facebook as forms of communication don’t always fully understand the purpose of initialism. To them, why would you abbreviate a phrase when you could just say it clearly the first time?
I agree with them.College students, however, were raised in a technological era where using the latest catch phrases are the next best thing. However, today’s college students are also educated and most likely want to be known as such.
Where do you draw the line between lazy initialisms, such as LOL and BRB, and initialisms that have become the norm over time, such as FBI and CEO?
Styelistically speaking, formal initialisms such as FBI would be introduced as the Federal Bureau of Investigation with FBI in parentheses, then strictly addressed as FBI.
You wouldn’t type in a text message or tweet “laugh out loud” before typing LOL. The guidelines and standards for initialisms are never properly taught and are therefore adapted and changed, as well as created by whomever, over time. Initialisms that are taught, such as FBI and CEO, are understood to be appropriate and widely accepted because they are initially introduced as three separate words.
Having been raised by a teacher and trying to pride myself on being an educated adult, I prefer to spell out messages to prevent confusion before it occurs rather than saving time. In the end it creates a world of confusion and cluttered inboxes. An educated person should want to present themselves to others as such.
You wouldn’t send an email to a professor with the term LOL or LMFAO, so why would you post it for the masses of Americans to view? Social media does indeed have no standards, rules, or regulations pertaining to proper English or professional communication skills.
However, I believe that writing something for the masses requires etiquette, professionalism and a clear interpretation. Initialisms are not appropriate and do not present your case in a positive fashion. It may end up appearing as though one chooses to pride themselves in the lack of English education, or possibly the fact that saving time is more important than getting a point accross the first time.
Whatever the means or justification, made up initialisms that satisfy society’s lack of time and contribute to carelessness are not necessary nor appropriate. TAS