You've probably heard already that this Friday is the first annual No Internet Lingo Day. It means what you think it means: that you should continue to use the internet freely, but you should refrain from using any internet lingo while doing so. "Lingo" is a catch-all term here, so the safest rule of thumb is "If you even suspect that it's internet lingo, don't use it." But just to give you some examples, here are some thing you won't be allowed to say or do:
* lol, lmao, rotfl, etc.
* fml, brb, tl;dr, etc.
* In fact, no acronyms or abbreviations of the above sort. (The abbreviation for "et cetera" is acceptable, however.)
* May as well not write u for you or 2 for too or things like that.
* You can't. do. this. I don't care if it's the best. news. ever.
* Do Want
* Wow... just wow.
* No smileys, winkeys, or other emoticons.
* Just sayin'...
* Calling the internet itself the internets or interweb or cyberweb or whatever you think George W. Bush once said.
* That thing where you write < / sarcasm > or whatever html reference you're trying to make.
* Random may as well be considered internet lingo, so don't use it, unless you actually mean random (as opposed to miscellaneous or weird).
So what's left to say? Well, I can give you some quick tips on how to convert the above into non-lingo. It's simple and fun, and you'll wonder why you never tried it before!
For example, instead of saying "Wow... just wow," you could try to convince us why you are overwhelmed by something. Explain what about this thing makes it awe-inspiring or what emotions you are feeling. Similarly, instead of trying to convey a sense of drama by using the best. periods. ever., you might attempt to convey what makes your subject matter special using specific detail. Eliminating the "ever" hyperbole will also allow us to take you seriously and we'll be able to understand that while the taco you ate was not, in fact, the best thing to happen in your life, it was still quite good.
If you do happen to laugh out loud at something you see on the internet, you have a few choices. The most obvious question to first ask yourself is, "How important is it for someone to know that I'm laughing aloud?" Usually the answer will be "Not very." Another option is to let us know why you thought the thing you're laughing at was so funny. Offer some critical analysis. The one making you laugh will appreciate the feedback, and you'll understand more about your own sense of humor. Finally, make sure that you're really laughing out loud to begin with. You may find that you've been writing "lol" when you're not really lolling. This honesty will lead to a path of self-discovery.
In order to help people who haven't heard that it is No Internet Lingo Day, you can link this handy icon every time you see lingo appear. Simply paste it on your friend's wall, blog comment box, or wherever it will reach the offender. I promise he or she will thank you for it.
New internet lingo is being born every day, so be cautious. If it seems clever yet simplistic the first time you encounter it, and if you imagine that it will soon become cliché and even worse than simplistic, then it's probably internet lingo. But don't be too harsh on yourself if you accidentally use internet lingo this Friday. August 20, 2011 will give you yet another opportunity to improve the internet and yourself... if only for one day.