This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Some common social media abbreviations that you should know

Social media is a term that covers sites that allow people to interact with each other, such as Facebook. Of course, there are a lot of other social media sites besides Facebook, but Facebook is the big one. Nowadays I never meet anyone who hasn't heard of it. In spite of the popularity of other social media sites, Facebook is the most popular one.

I manage a group page on Facebook called Phoenix, Arizona Historical Images, and since it's a study group about the history of Phoenix, I really don't see many obscure abbreviations. But I do see them. Personally, I dislike abbreviations. As a Graphic Designer, I always wrote things out. My first boss absolutely hated to see LA CA, and showed me how much more elegant spelling out Los Angeles, California was. When I worked for Bank One, we were told specifically to never used B.O. (because it's a common abbreviation for Body Odor). To this day, I spell things out. My goal is communication, and respect for people who are looking at what I design, not my own convenience. There are exceptions, of course. I don't write out "International Business Machines", I just write IBM. Some things we recognize better by abbreviations, and there are a few on social media that I've gotten used to, and I recognize easily. Here are a few that I see all of the time, and even though I don't use them, I like knowing immediately what they mean.

• LOL. This stands for "Laugh Out Loud". It's by far the most common abbreviation used on social media. No, it's not "Lots of Love", so if you read it that way, you could become confused. It shows genuine appreciation for something that someone thought was so funny that they laughed out loud when they saw it. I can also be derisive, and it tends to also be used when laughing at someone, such as a video of someone falling down. Since I tend to stay away from abbreviations, I don't use it.

• WTH? This means "What the Hell?", and is even more commonly written as WTF? (and no, I'm not going to write that out for you). I see this a lot, and it's a request for clarification of something that doesn't seem right. Or it could be a comment on displeasure with something.

• IIRC means "If I recall correctly". When I see this, I know that someone has made a comment without really having any way to check the precision of their statement. Memories are imperfect things, I know, and this abbreviation, along with IMHO, which means "In my Humble Opinion" means that someone is sharing information to the best of their abilities, which may or may not be factually correct.

I dislike abbreviations. I find them confusing, and usually get in the way of clear communication. I also find that they can be used to make simple things sound confusing, such as abbreviations for computer terms (my favorite was something called TWAIN - which stood for "Technology Without An Interesting Name"). I often tell people that I belong to the SFTPOCAA - the Society For The Prevention Of Confusing Abbreviations And Acronyms, and I do my best to avoid garbled communication, either from my own laziness, or the desire to sound much cooler than I really am.

So please, don't abbreviate. I want to understand you, not have to write back and ask what an abbreviation means. If I see abbreviations, I often go over to a site called the Urban Dictionary, and I find that helpful. But really, could you just write out Los Angeles? Or Louisiana? I'd like to know what you mean.

Image at the top of this post: the Facebook group page that I manage, Phoenix, Arizona Historical Images.

What to do about stupid comments on a Facebook group page

If you manage a Facebook group page, there will be stupid comments. That's as obvious as saying that the sun comes up every morning. And wishing that it wouldn't happen is just unrealistic. In order to deal with it, you have to accept that disruptive behavior is something that we all enjoy.

For me, my heyday for this was when I was about twelve or thirteen and would get on a city bus with my best friend and we would try to annoy the grownups as much as possible by talking loudly to each other, just saying random stuff. My mom told me that in her day she and her friends would pick up the "tele-phone", call a store and ask if they had Prince Albert in the Can. When the clerk said yes, they were told that they should let him out, or he would suffocate! Prince Albert was a type of tobacco that was sold in cans, a long, long, time ago.

My point here is that stupid comments can be a lot of fun, and help break up the monotony of life. And life can be very dull for a lot of people. And it's part of human nature, and it doesn't mean that a person is awful. Usually they're just bored.

I have mixed feelings about stupid comments on my Facebook group page. Sometimes they are so stupid that I really wonder if they're kidding. Or maybe they're making comments while under the influence of something?

Stupid comments should never be confused with comments that show ignorance. I'm very ignorant of a lot of things, and I have a desire to learn, so I often ask questions that show my lack of knowledge. Arguably you could call my questions stupid comments, but that's not what I mean by stupid comments. So if I see a comment that looks stupid, I always give the benefit of the doubt. I like having my questions answered, and I answer questions to the best of my abilities. To me, that's what a teacher does, and everyone who has knowledge is a teacher to me.

Of course, the answer to how to deal with stupid comments I learned back when I was 13. The grown-ups ignored me, and were just relieved when I got off the bus. If someone had tried to engage me, by trying to tell me how to behave, it would have just added to my fun. Being ignored was the worst thing that could happen to me.

So that's what you do. Don't reply to stupid comments, just delete them. If you're afraid that someone might take offense at having their stupid comment deleted, think twice before you delete it. Are they just trying to be funny? Or maybe they're agreeing with you, but in a goofy way? Sarcasm and irony don't work well on the web, just as they don't work well with any group of people who may not know each other very well. But if you're sure that it's a stupid comment, hit the delete button and it goes away. I'm kinda thinking the people on the bus when I was a kid would have liked to have had a delete button for me!

Image at the top of this post: the Facebook group that I manage Phoenix, Arizona Historical Images