Monday, December 14, 2015

Learning social media lingo

"You know that smiley - the colon-bracket one.."
"Yes!" I said proudly. "I have mastered its use."
"Actually, you know, it is not meant to be used as a period. You do not need to put it in after every sentence."
"I don't put it in after every sentence", I said indignantly. "I also use that colon-P thing every now and then."
"Exactly what I mean. It is perfectly OK to write sentences in Social media interactions without putting in ANY emoticon at the end."

Am I rushing ahead of myself? The chap who was offering helpful advice about punctuation in Social media is a nephew who was teaching me the basics of social media lingo. Being tutored by the old in your youth and by the young in your dotage is a peculiar fate reserved for my generation, as I have had reason to lament before.

Having just learned about emoticons, I was happily proud of my mastery of these two when this 'tutor' of mine comes and punctures my balloon. Well...I am afraid that his advice fell on deaf ears, since I am still not convinced that they are NOT the social media equivalents of what we used to call the full-stop (even though no-one ever bothered to tell us what a half-stop was.) What he did manage, though, was to abruptly truncate my interest in learning more emoticons. If people will keep poking their noses in and making rude comments about the extent of your learning, is it a wonder that you lose interest in education?

There were some other things that I learned all by myself. For one, it is best to see what opinion everyone is holding about anything and agree with it wholeheartedly. Otherwise, you will get stomped on, vilified and may even face the fate worse than death - being unfriended or, horror of horrors, blocked.

It is all right for you to think that clicking 'Like' is the equivalent of 'I have seen this status message from you' on Facebook but use it with caution. You could end up clicking a 'Like' on someone's lament for a pet dog and be thought of as a heartless brute, who was probably throwing a party to rejoice in the death of the poor beast. (God know what new lessons would need to be learned if and when that 'Dislike' button goes live. You could end up clicking the 'Dislike' on the same lament, intending to express how deeply you dislike the death of the canine and the other person may feel that you are a heartless brute who dislikes someone lamenting the death of a pet.)

Never fail to 'Like' any pic put up by any of your friends - it is a given that the person thinks she looks great in it, else she would not be wanting the world to look at it. If you fail to 'Like', it is clear evidence that you do not LIKE the person, or so it shall be construed. What I am yet to understand is exactly what am I supposed to do for all these videos that everyone and his uncle is sharing these days. Is my not 'Liking' them losing me all my friends? Alack and Alas! My ignorance will end up losing me good friends and lose me all MY 'Likes' on my status messages!

Useful though these lessons are, they only constitute social media behavior and NOT lingo. Lingo does need a tutor and, having dispensed with my previous one on account of the aforementioned disagreement on the use of emoticons, I am hamstrung. I realized the depths of my problems when I discovered, by the use of deep ratiocination, that 'hv' stands for 'have' and 'gr8' stands for 'great'. As usual, filled with enthusiasm, I used these liberally in a chat - with someone who was carefully using English till then with me - and ended up with this conversation.

"Hv you got the book I wanted? It would be gr8 if you can send it to me like last time."

'ws nt d bst way. cud u send sum1 2 me fr dis?"

Huh! Was that some cross-talk on Facebook? Had I perchance tapped into some coded message for the CIA or whatever? Chills ran up and down my spine. In these days of paranoia, such inadvertent eavesdropping could cost me dear.

Now...who can I trust to check this out and tell me if this was merely the new lingo or some code that will require a supercomputer to break?

God save me! I wish I had never ventured into Social media!


  1. I was lyk ROFL! Tl me abt it! Cant figure 'sup wid d nw gen! M outta sync wid dis 2! Lyk hw cn 1 kp trck of al dis nw stuff? Whn my dotr sez gtg on WA...I wisely assume n buy a greeting card! Ttyl has me stumped, n whts wid brb? I figured the Pos thankfully! Adding to your woes.....I know ;) Totally enjoyed this...;) :) :p

  2. I wish I had never ventured into Social media! This view is getting a lot of traction these days.

    Simply hilarious, and if I may dare say, a Kohinoor amongst all the other diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds. Keep writing, and keep putting those smiles on your readers' faces--Thanks!

    1. Thanks Ramesh! Trust you to put a smile on my face :)

  3. Well well that's what social media is doing to everyone!! Good one!! 😊

  4. I sail in the same boat, Suresh. Can't even use a smartphone :(

  5. LOL. These social media emoticons sure are a puzzle. For a long time I had no clue how to draw the heart symbol and lots of others..I still have a long way to go. I still feel 'like' button is like acknowledging somebody's response like nodding a head in agreement..many ppl think it's not required and I get completely confused. What's your take on that ?

    1. My state of incomprehension about the Like button is amply demonstrated in the post, Ash :)

  6. Hey, I like smileys :) But can only remember to use two kinds, the colon-bracket and the semi-colon & bracket. Don't even know what all those others with P, hearts etc mean, or how to write them. I mean why can't we simply write Love instead of making that heart sign? And then there's also that emoticon with tongue hanging out. Seen that?
    And yes that "Like" button can make or mar friendships in this era. What times we live in!

    1. The tongue hanging out one is :P! THAT and the :) are the only two I know :)