So it’s official, Facebook has confirmed that the humble ‘LOL’ is decreasing in popularity. Once the standard expression used to display digital amusement, it has now been overtaken by the new, hip laughing Emoji, ‘hehe,’ and the more traditional, ‘haha’.
The findings reveal which method of e-laughter is favoured by each age group, and LOL-ers do still exist, but they’re now Facebook users with an average age of 28. Indeed, I can understand why they continue to stick with it. In the days of MSN Messenger (RIP), ‘LOL’ was my go-to response to the things I found funny, the things I didn’t find funny but felt like it required a response, or for the times when I was unsure of how to respond so used it no matter what its relevance to the initial comment was. Communication in my teens was pretty basic, but it meant I believed in the power of ‘LOL’, and clearly some still do.
According to Facebook, the inspiration for the e-laughter analysis was a New Yorker article by Sarah Larson. In the piece, she discusses her methods for expressing digital delight, as well as those of her friends, in a bid to see if there’s a pattern between their gender, age and laughter method. Ultimately, she did spot a few trends, which Facebook confirmed do exist, but the findings are in no way conclusive; after all, what about ‘ROFL’ or ‘LMAO’? Come on Facebook, a job worth doing is worth doing well.
Anyway, what we’ve had confirmed is that there is a plethora of options for you to use to convey, or feign, amusement when your friend posts a video on your wall. However, the next stage of technology evolution means we could soon be laughing AT our computers. Microsoft has attempted to program a computer with a sense of humour in order for it to judge the entries to a popular weekly caption competition. While still very early in development, the computer penalised entries which included proper nouns, and that in turn punished good jokes which reflected current events. Still, is it inconceivable to think that one day machines will be able to sense sarcasm or generate their own punch lines? Just think, we’ve all seen Terminator 2 and there’s no way the T-101’s comic timing is due to Arnie’s acting ability – this is the start of Skynet.
Now I realise that I haven’t actually explained what ‘LOL’ stands for and it’s because I assume you all know. However, just in case, it means ‘laugh out loud’ not ‘lots of love’ as my Nan thought when writing my birthday card. LOL, Nan.