He describes the various initialisms of Internet slang as convenient, but warns that "as ever more obscure acronyms emerge they can also be rather confusing".
Hershock, in discussing these terms in the context of performative utterances, points out the difference between telling someone that one is laughing out loud and actually laughing out loud: "The latter response is a straightforward action.
The former is a self-reflexive representation of an action: I not only do something but also show you that I am doing it.
Linguist John Mc Whorter stated, "Lol is being used in a particular way. Mc Whorter stated that lol is utilized less as a reaction to something that is hilarious, but rather as a way to lighten the conversation.
Yunker and Barry in a study of online courses and how they can be improved through podcasting have found that these slang terms, and emoticons as well, are "often misunderstood" by students and are "difficult to decipher" unless their meanings are explained in advance.
They single out the example of "ROFL" as not obviously being the abbreviation of "rolling on the floor laughing" (emphasis added).
("bye for now") and IMHO ("in my honest/humble opinion").
A 2003 study of college students by Naomi Baron found that the use of these initialisms in computer-mediated communication (CMC), specifically in instant messaging, was actually lower than she had expected.
The students "used few abbreviations, acronyms, and emoticons".
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It was first used almost exclusively on Usenet, but has since become widespread in other forms of computer-mediated communication and even face-to-face communication.
These can be used to do live sex video chat if you like, but please be careful about who you talk to on the internet; not everyone is your friend, or even of the gender that you have been led to believe ;).