This is a pointer for those among you who are interested in character studies in the blogosphere. Let’s consider the phrase LOL- laughing out loud. How can we appropriately use this phrase?
My suggestion, in the cause of civility, is to use LOL only in cases of sincere amusement of a positive kind. For example, one blogger tells a joke or relates an amusing fact. The responding blogger post LOL, as in, good job, that was most entertainingly amusing.
On Gather, LOL or ROFLMAO, rolling on floor laughing my ass off (and the ever popular “chuckle”- immortalized by jack midnite of course), are just as often used in a somewhat hateful sarcastic mode. These phrases are utilized in the mode of saying “you sir are a brainless bucket of pond scum whose contribution to the course of human progress is nil. I therefore pepper my discourse with acronyms denoting amusement, as a way to be confrontational with you, to mock you, to raise your blood pressure, and of course I thereby derive considerable perverse satisfaction. Have a nice day, and F*** you!”.
When you encounter these phrases, consider how they are being used. Are they intended to increase our sense of community, or to destroy it? Are they being used to increase conversation and the exchange of information, or to terminate it? Are they telling you anything about the topic under discussion, or are they revealing unpleasant things about the character of he or she who is posting?
Consider the medium as well as the message.