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November 15, 2018

What LOL means, and why people use it


If you've spent much time on the web, especially on social media, you know that cheerful comments can often be misunderstood. And that's why people use "LOL", which is an abbreviation for "Laughing Out Loud". It's a way to put into the written word what you would see IRL (In Real Life), which is someone laughing, an in a pleasant way.

The written word is nice, but it doesn't do the subtleties that the spoken word does. And that's why so many people misunderstand stuff on the web, and become offended. When I'm with my friends, drinking coffee, I can say "Those bums!" when I'm talking about a particular baseball team, but they see me laughing, and smiling. They know I'm kidding, and in reality I love that team. I'm laughing out loud.

Writing out the words "I'm laughing here in a cheerful way" is really what LOL means on the web. And laughter is a wonderful thing. I can help someone really does understand a reaction, way beyond just saying "Yeah, I get it."

For someone like me, who grew up in Minnesota with "dry humor", it can be especially difficult to know when I'm kidding. If I said, for example, "It's 20 below zero in my old neighborhood, seems pretty warm to me!" I mean "It's 20 below zero in my old neighborhood, seems pretty warm to me LOL". So you see I'm kidding, I'm smiling, I'm laughing.

So don't be afraid of writing LOL on a comment, especially in a group where people might misunderstand what you're saying. Let the group know that you're happy, and cheerful, and laughing. Laughter is a wonderful thing, and the world can't get enough of it.

Laughter is good medicine, and sharing it costs you nothing. So laugh out loud! LOL!

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