Changing ways we communicate with one another
Brave New World
The Internet redefined the world. It also changed the way we communicate with one another. Abbreviations, emoji’s and acronyms have become the new norm. In the fast paced world of getting ahead, we have no time for full sentences, complete enunciations, and elaborate conversations. We have been introduced to a whole new world order. It is a vocabulary all its own and language that has its own agency. Terms rolls off the tongues of users with the ease of butter, with a smattering of hieroglyphic scripts of emoji’s. These words, phrases and memes have moved beyond everyday terminology to songs, texts, tweets and every form of communication known to humans on the internet.
Even though it is known that using acronyms and abbreviations is to be done only in casual settings and not in an official or scientific environment, oftentimes the lines are blurred. In certain settings usage can be construed as being rude, for instance when the age group is disparate. Yet it is a trend that is gaining momentum with the vocabulary growing by leaps and bounds as generations are adding new words by the mouthful. In the world of texting, tweeting and Instagram postings the vocabulary is getting more graphic and colorful. The goal is to be lucid, erudite and avoid writing in complete sentences.
At what Cost?
Acronyms make communications easier and more efficient but they can also be confusing and hard to decipher. Often they are generation specific and do not translate well when others are try to adopt and adapt. Even though they have become prevalent and widely accepted, there is a cost of overuse. Deciding if the current audience will understand the communication is a dicey judgement call. If it is a known and well understood acronym it is a very efficient way of communication, otherwise it is like navigating a bewildering maze.
Even though it is widely believed that in a more formal environment such as academia and scientific community acronyms and abbreviations are not widely used, a Forbes study dating back to 2020 enunciates that more than 1.1 million have been known to be in use infrequently! As the Forbes article highlights, Dictionary.com defines an acronym as “a word formed from the initial letters or a group of letters of words in a set phrase or series of words and pronounced as a separate word”. Sometimes the use of acronyms can be helpful. For example, the acronym SNAFU has become a lot easier to say than what it originally stood for as a military acronym: Situation Normal: All( dirty word that begins with F)-ed Up. (Courtesy Forbes). It is not every time that acronyms lend themselves to easy communication. All too often they can be an impediment.
Emojis are a Japanese transplant. Acknowledging this President Obama thanked Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for karate, karaoke, manga, anime and of course emoji’s. And lets not forget Sushi, the widely revered culinary legacy.
Emoji’s have taken on a life and emotion all of its own. With the adoption of emoji’s in the realm of Smartphones and Search engines – there is no doubt that they are here to stay and becoming more firmly entrenched. Emoji’s are a visual tool. They are a language tool, constantly evolving, making online communication more interactive, richer and extremely effective. When used in text they are a substitute for gestures and facial expression and can convey more than an entire sentence.
Emojis ensure that no grammatical mistakes are made and epitomize a recognizable 21st century digital icon. There are no mixed signals when used and misdirected communications are done away with the use of the emojis. They can be fun and engaging and communicate a broad range of emotions in a direct way. Even though this lexicon have no room in a formal or business setting, there is no doubt that these tools are here to stay.
It is impossible to dial back the clock, so let us unpack how we can interact with future generations in a meaningful way as we continue to build communities through communications.
We are stronger together