Chatspeak. We love it. We hate it. It’s everywhere.
Or is it?
Back when instant messaging was new, and texting was gaining popularity, chatspeak became the new way for people to communicate, and suddenly everyone was “laughing out loud.”
But though it was born of technology, chatspeak is language. And such it is subservient to the only true rule of language: change.
According to a new report from Facebook, whose data team did an analysis of the most commonly used terms on the site, if you’re laughing on the internet, you’re more likely to be haha-ing, hehe-ing, or using emoji than you are to be lol-ing.
You can check out a more in depth breakdown of usage (covering categories like age and gender) in this article from the Verge, but the important thing to take away is that less than 2% of users are still lol-ing on the internet. With the arrival of full qwerty keyboards on mobile devices, and the rise of emoji, modern users of the internet have moved away from chatspeak.
The internet moves quickly (understatement of the year… ), and in messaging and advertising, keeping up with its vernacular is every bit as important as staying in step with technology. Understanding the way your audience expresses itself can be the difference between looking like you’re trying too hard, being downright insulting, and actually reaching them with your message.
There’s nothing worse than tone deaf messaging. Like your dad showing up at your high school dance in a leather jacket and sock garters. Dad, you’re an accountant who collects stamps. Cut it out.