Friday, October 07, 2005


Came across this and thought it is rather interesting.


Quite comprehensive:

Ass.. Acronyms Say "Stupid!"

Acronyms are, in my humble opinion, a blight upon the young and the lazy. Yes, I'm from another time period. And in that time period IBM acronyms ruled and you weren't "in the know" and a real engineer unless you could spew those acronyms from your mouth and listening to them in return while determining the architecture for the next big application. Resumes were riddled with these funny little meaningless phrases that, if used properly, landed you jobs at the best consulting firms and, if not, pushed you into a purgatory of punching and sorting cards or, even worse, selling insurance. To the outside world they might as well have been Greek and that was cool because you knew something they didn't - you were a real engineer and doing something few others could do.

I was a real engineer. I wanted to make my own acronym. I had just built this really nice application interface technology to let banking applications written in IBM mainframe COBOL use an expert system running on a unix box (so they could better discriminate and more effectively seperate the suckers from their money.) I thought Application Interface Development System sounded pretty good...oops.

Today our children use acronyms like it's a second language. In a sense it is. But it is also a grossly misunderstood and abused language. People who have caught the bug let the acronyms fly without regard to proper sentence construction and grammar. As a result, few understand and the rest are confused and occasionally insulted. Take the simple phrase "lol". To most it means "laughing out loud." I use it myself when appropriate. But my 11-year-old daughter will use it to mean "lots of love." OK, now I'm confused...what does it mean again? Have to watch that context.

What I find most annoying is when people overuse an acronym. Take the above example: lol. Having a conversation with my daughter she will use lol (as laughing out loud) about once every three sentences. Yet she never actually laughs. I know this because I have conversations with her when we are in separate rooms of the same house (we are both, much to my wife's dismay, engineers.) Another acquaintance of mine will use it when he is ever so slightly amused by my misunderstanding of facts or lack of knowledge. I write "this is how I would do it" and he responds, "lol, have you considered doing it the other way?" Now I am not as well versed in the subtleties of this other language but I believe I am not too far off the mark if I read this as "laughing out loud, have you ..." Extrapolate just a little more and put the two of us in the same room where I say "this is how..." and he responds by laughing out loud and says "have you considered..." and now the conversation has gone from cute to insulting. Communication is 90 percent infection and body language and 10% content (or something like that) - why take chances with that 10% if that's all you have with which to work?

Acronyms have always been and always will be the way of the lazy and the clickers. I am neither lazy nor do I feel a need to use acronyms to be part of a group. Camaraderie is built upon common experience and shared interests, not by learning and using the obtuse language of the group. Maintaining a group though the use of some arcane codes, handshakes, or other silly gesture that only the included know may create an artificial sense of connectedness but it also alienates others and gives the members an excuse not to really explore why there is a group in the first place. Some might say that the second language is here to stay and, if you look in any modern dictionary, you will see some of these new "words." That will happen eventually and, when the larger population accepts the phrase as a legitimate word much the same way "Kleenex" now is synonymous with tissue and "OK" means, well, OK, then that is the way it will be. In the mean time I will be boring and stick with what is tried and true because I respect those with whom I communicate and I prefer that their understanding of me and my feelings is as close as possible to what I am.

So, now that I have wasted my time spewing this crap to a blog that few will read and most who do will retort with funny and snide remarks (presented as acronyms no less)...



P.S. I'm pretty sure I'm going to regret this post by the end of today ;-)


1 comment:

Do provide your constructive comment. I appreciate that.