Your Guide to Funny Netiquette
If you're like me, a person more suited to communicating with others
electronically than face to face, then you are already laughing. Why? Because
of the word "netiquette", of course. Isn't it fun the way we in
the electronic world keep creating these words and rules that all the popular
people that used to make fun of us can't keep up with? We can create words
that are cute and with which we may delight our secret computer sects. You
see, "netiquette" is "net" plus "etiquette",
meaning the etiquette of the Internet, or net, as we in the know call it.
There is a drawback, though, and that is that the same people that delight
in creating cute new phrases are also the ones that really have very little
else to do. And so the phrases and cute ASCII drawings blossom like Spock
ears at a Star Trek convention. This is why we at the Gift Electronique
have decided to provide you with a guide to the funny "emoticons"
(you're laughing again, aren't you?) and acronyms of Internet communications.
Let's start with the basics, okay?
The "smiley" was the first of the "emoticons". The word
emoticon has no basis in latin, greek, or esperanto. Actually, it is a term
thought up by geeks to express their desire that emotions have computer-generated
precision. The late internet humor pioneer Ottmar Cantori invented emoticons
and the smiley in 1987 as a way to express, to people with whom he had never
had human contact, his love for life. One year later, distraught at his
inability to license and control the use of his creation, and horrified
to find his "smiley" emoticon bastardized into a frown, Ottmar
shot himself in the head.
The exact meaning of the smiley is "I'm so happy, I work on computers
all day and I also do not have the creative capacity to truly describe my
pleasure," or "in case you did not know I was joking because what
I said was so weak and pathetic, I will put this emoticon here to make it
It is from these humble beginnings that Internet-specific humor grew. Next
came winking smileys, the aforementioned frowny, fornicating smileys and
the now almost-cliched surprised smiley. However, like a gold mine that
has paid out well but is almost depleted, the smiley field is inhabited
with many older Internet miners hoping that some accidental combination
of keystrokes will strike the motherload.
There has been no truly new research in emoticons since Cantori's original
discovery. Currently, however, the smiley is used by a very diverse community
of complete idiots with absolutely no creativity or reason to live.
LOL short for "Laugh Out Loud" was invented by Shari Chen, the
first recipient of Ottmar's outrageous smiley. Shari successfully petitioned
to the U.S. patent office and has built LOL into a $50 million dollar a
Today the most productive and innovative Netiquette work is taking place
in abbreviations and acronyms, led by the University of Washington's Internet
Communications Research Laboratory (UWICRL). UWCIRL has permission from
LOL, Inc., as researchers, to continue development and expansion of LOL,
with patent rights being split between groups. Among UWICRL's more successful
Rolling on the floor laughing - which is meant to represent something even
funnier than LOL. For example, Family Circus has the potential to be LOL,
while Dennis the Menace can be ROTFL.
Rolling on the floor choking, please get help. While seemingly obscure,
this acronym comes in handy for grotesquely obese "Webheads" who
are so surprised by information retrieved using the Internet that they choke
on the bones of their Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Grin - meaning exactly what it seems. Researchers in Washington found that
there must be some way to express mild amusement with a story or joke that
is not LOL. <g> is also excellent for expressing smug pleasure in
yourself, for example "I just busted a cap on my landlord's skinny
white ass <g>." <g> is often abused by people trying to
be funny but fearing that nobody can tell if they don't indicate this. Perhaps
these people should be shot.
<bg> and <vbg>
Big grin and very big grin still remain below LOL, but are stronger representations
of either amusement or smugness. You will often find <bg> or <vbg>
used by people that probably shouldn't at all be proud of their pathetic
existences. These two phrases do, however, have an essential purpose, insist
researchers. That purpose is to provide people unsure that others will detect
their supposed cleverness an abbreviated way to point it out. For example
"I am very clever <vbg>."
The IMO Debate
Until 1992, UWICRLwas the only standard-setting body for for emoticons and
acronyms. A splinter group, the Internet Emoticon and Acronym Board (IEAB),
which is purely evil and selfish, formed from former UWICRL researchers
over a dispute in the use of IMO (In My Opinion).
IEAB took IMO and added and H after M. The dispute of the UWICRL was not
over adding a letter, which the UWICRL has always been open to doing. Rather,
the problem was that the members if IEAB released the term into usage without
clearly defining the meaning of the H., much like the nebulous H. in the
center of Jesus H. Christ. To this date, the debate still rages over whether
the H stands for the pretentious "Humble" which no truly humble
person would add, or whether it stands for "Honest" which any
liar would still add because it is a minor infraction in a life full of
IMO and IMHO are both excellent ways to begin a sentence that anyone but
the biggest moron (see smiley users) could pretty easily figure out is opinion.
For example "Elle MacPherson is pretty," becomes "IMHO, Elle
MacPherson is pretty." The reader learns from the second example that
you were not speaking for the earth's population in general but only in
your own "humble" opinion.
Why do emoticons and acronyms exist in cyberspace? Well, truth be told,
there are some useful ones. I have seen "LMK" stand for "Let
Me Know", and while the user is a lazy bastard for not typing the few
extra letters, at least LMK adds something to the sentence it is within.
The majority of emoticons and acronyms are nowhere as useful. They are,
in fact, a way for Internet geeks to separate themselves from the rest of
the world. They do not add anything. They are merely protocol so that lonely,
asocial shut-ins can recognize immediately that incoming messages are also
from lonely, asocial shut-ins.