More than we think, verbal conversations are giving way to writing forms in which the conversation history can be tracked. A text message can be stored for a long period time in our mobile phones and serve as a reminder. Since the advent of instant messaging, less people are verbally communicating and prefer to type their chats out so that they can read emails or watch videos while waiting for a response – the level of multitasking which all young online users are capable of.
As such, it is no surprise that the degree of warmth one finds in an online chat is tied to the amount of emoticons and smileys that one uses. Acronyms such as ‘LOL', ‘ROFL' and ‘LMAO' have long replaced the simple ‘Haha' as it paints a more intense picture of one laughing at a statement. Are typed expressions of emotion real? How do we know for sure if the person whom we are chatting with, is sincerely laughing out loud or saddened by our words? In reality, this writer really doubts that one is rolling on the floor laughing what more when one says laughing my ass off. Our minds work much better with such depictions than one given by a simple ‘Haha' as it could come off as a conversation stopper or lacking in sincerity.
One would think that with the rise in the use of instant messaging, language proficiency would increase as well. However, in schools, teachers still constantly remind their students to refrain from using abbreviated words or ‘texting language' in essays. Is technology changing the way we communicate and endangering our relationships? Video calls notwithstanding, one might find typing out an entire conversation tiresome or slow. Not forgetting, we inadvertently lose words that convey our exact emotion and our recipient may not read the message with the same emotions as ours.