Recently, I had a conversation with a communications professional friend of mine via text message that about made my head explode. Acronyms abound! I understand texts are meant for bits of information, but is “baby” really that much longer than “bb”?
Listed below are just a few of the acronyms that have a tendency to irritate me. In short, I HATE “text shorthand”. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves.
To preface, my friend is a single mom with a gorgeous infant daughter and very little time on her hands. I’m lucky to exchange more than 4-5 messages with her in one day, then hear back two weeks later with a reply to my final question. My point: I know she’s very pressed for time.
Her story is typical. We are all pressed for time. Information and commitments abound leaving the vast majority of the world’s population to exhibit symptoms of ADHD.
Text shorthand has it’s time and place, as in texting, instant messaging, Twitter and Facebook ONLY! (I will state more definitive guidelines below.) Simply put, the writer appears uneducated when he or she uses it on the wrong platform. Abbreviations are permissible when used properly and most often in informal settings. The writer should select the writing style and follow suit.
While Netlingo.com claims to have the largest list of text messaging shorthand on the Internet, it would be nice to have an official guideline.
For now, I propose the following guidelines for when to use informal text shorthand and when not to use it:
Permissible: Informal correspondence-SMS, Twitter, Facebook, e-mail in which the writer has a close relationship with the recipient, etc.
Heinous crime: Formal settings-official correspondence, business meetings, reports, etc.
Most importantly, the writer must take into account the audience. If text shorthand is a normal part of their vernacular, it makes sense to use it. But, when in doubt, spell it out!