10 Texting abbreviation and emoji tips
In recent years our language has been rammed through a digital Moulinex with nuanced words funnelled in one end and blended abbreviations coming out the other, and today we are confronted with the additional flurry of puzzling emojis.
It’s worse than George Orwell predicted in his novel, 1984, where with the goal of controlling dissent, the official language of the totalitarian state was being continuously culled of superfluous words. Limit the vocabulary and you can limit thought itself. Seems to me the information age has taken Orwell’s dark vision one step further and is eliminating the need for words altogether!
This hits home in our daily lives. Have you struggled with interpreting your children’s correspondence? If you are fortunate enough to actually receive a timely response to your text messages (forget email altogether, total waste of time), does their reply still need to be read aloud or be fed through Bletchley Park’s Enigma machine for decoding? Does it sometimes seem like we’re playing that old game show – Bumper Stumpers – where stuttering contestants had seven seconds to decipher the hidden meaning of an endless supply of vanity license plates?
If any of this sounds familiar, I’ve sifted through a series of texting exchanges with my chil- dren and other younger folk, have done some homework, and am here to help!
Here are 10 essential tips and tricks.
1. A POTATO …is actually not a spud but rather a “Person Over Thirty Acting like Twenty-One.” (A slight with which I have been unwittingly scalloped on more than one occasion.)
2. While we’re into foodstuffs, in case you’ve been referred to as a PITA and thought you were being called a tasty flat bread… How does “Pain In The Ass” sound?
3. The addition of a winking emoji at the end of an offensive or insulting text is akin to a verbal insult that finishes with “Uhh, just kidding.” …Uhh, no you’re not.
4. TL; dr was one that had me perplexed. I had hoped it was a responsible response mean- ing, Toot-a-loo, I’m Driving. Turns out the accurate interpretation is “Too Long; Didn’t Read.”
5. The authoritative website emojipedia.org features 3 emojis with stuck-out tongues. One with eyes open , one with one eye closed and one with both eyes closed. I’m at a loss here. So, as my mother would say, “Don’t stick your tongue out.”
6. IANAL generated some snickers and bewilderment when I first read it in a text message. Relax, it actually means “I Am Not A Lawyer.”
7. I interpreted this emoji as that universal question, “Do My Pits Smell?” Emojipedia.org explains it is actually a “Face With OK Gesture.”
8. This emoji in fact is not a command to give me 10 push-ups, but rather an expression of gratitude. So, thank God I don’t have to do those any more.
9. The overuse of all caps, exclamation and question marks is at the root of many a misunderstanding and personal affront… GET MY DRIFT!!!???
It’s enough to make you want to pick up the phone and actually talk to someone – or better yet, seek them out for a face-to-face exchange. I leave you with my own recently invented abbreviation.
10. UYW – this is my handy reply to an unintelligible message or emoji-string from an entitled millennial or a brooding teenager. It stands for Use Your Words.
Ted Markle, a newspaper industry veteran of more than 30 years and former president of TC Media, is a keen observer of the humorous side of the human situation. He appears in this space every Monday. You can reach him at ted. email@example.com. – Twitter : @tedmarkle