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EVERYTHING KING: Internet shorthand gets annoying PDQ

In this week's column, Wendy says she doesn't know why we need so many abbreviations in our text messages and communications
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Forgive me for writing to you in full and complete sentences this week.

Consider it a throwback to a quaint time when spelling counted and words mattered.

At the risk of sounding like Jerry Seinfeld, "What’s with all the abbreviations?"

I know people are busy, but are we so swamped we can’t type out a full word?

Recently, my text messages seem so full of odd spellings and acronyms that I find myself shaking my head as to what the sender is trying to communicate.

Oh, and I just learned that one: SMH apparently means shaking my head, as in disbelief.

For example: "The price of groceries is just crazy. SMH"

I know we’ve always used a kind of shorthand in writing and over time some of those have just become accepted and understood.

Think ASAP (as soon as possible), TBD (to be determined), and TGIF (Thank God It's Friday).

In advance of Valentine’s Day, make sure you know TLC means Tender Loving Care and SWAK stands for Sealed With A Kiss.

However, if my sweetheart were to find it too stressful and time-consuming to write a full message of affection, there may be a larger problem. ILY (I Love You) just isn’t going to cut it. At least throw in some X's and O's!

Internet shorthand likely started out of necessity. Remember when Twitter started we were limited to 140 characters per tweet? That has since increased to 280 characters, but the trend to abbreviate continued.

It's also probable that young people used some of these as a secret code to keep parents in the dark if they might be monitoring their messages. Acronyms that came into vogue included POS (parent over shoulder), PAH (parent at home), and KPC (keeping parents clueless).

According to, it was millennials who came up with and popularized the use of internet chat abbreviations. It's all part of tweeting and instant messaging.

But, let’s face it, some of this came about because we are too lazy to write out a full word or complete sentence with punctuation. I’m not clear on how typing TTYL  (talk to you later) is faster than 'bye' to end a message, but so be it.

Personally, it seems like a waste of time trying to decipher what the initials all stand for.

I suppose there’s a time and a place for internet slang. I still don’t think it should be used in formal communications, like an office memo, for instance. Then again, if we are still working from home in our PJ’s and bare feet, maybe the writing is the least of the relaxed rules.

I can’t imagine being so informal with my doctor, teacher or lawyer or any professional, really: “Thx for the chat, doc. DM me the new prescription ASAP. TTYL.”

I have been accused of overusing the giant blue "thumbs up" emoji to respond to messages. I use it as a way of notifying the sender that I did in fact see what they sent, but have nothing more to say. I will try, in future, to use my words.


This basically has no logical translation. It was my cat sitting on the keyboard.

Honestly, makes as much sense as some of the communications out there.

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About the Author: Wendy King

Wendy King writes about all kinds of things from nutrition to the job search from cats to clowns — anything and everything — from the ridiculous to the sublime. Watch for Wendy's column weekly.
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