Business News - Local News

The language of the future

Text messaging, Internet chats are changing the way we communicate.

Orlando Business Journal – by Mary Gardner


Confused? That is no typo. You’re seeing the English language of the future.

What does it mean? ANFSCD: And now for something completely different …

As the Internet becomes more and more prominent in our everyday lives, many aspects of our lives are being affected. Not only is our language becoming a shorthand version of itself online, but offline language has evolved to become a lot more rapid and abbreviated.

And I’m not talking about streamlining our messages to pithy parables that offer infinite wisdom. Rather, we speak in shorthand.

Think back to the ’90s when “blah, blah, blah” became a popular replacement for the “rest of the story.” In our busy lives, it was beginning to take too much effort to communicate all the details, so we began to make assumptions our audience could fill in the blanks.

Jerry Seinfeld’s gang coined the term “yada, yada, yada,” enthnicizing “blah, blah.” In large cities, the hip crowd uses statements such as “words, words, words” to convey an assumed, deeper meaning in the conversation. “Yeah, yeah” dismisses further talking or relays an understanding of the intended meaning.

There are a couple of things happening here we need to pay attention to. As the virtual world takes the forefront, the language of the Internet will begin to spill into our everyday lives. With English being the dominant language on the Internet, more people will do business in English.

This means people will need to learn the shorthand version of English, which means it’s only a matter of time before acronyms and shortcuts start to pop up in normal, everyday conversation. For some, conversations will seem like a foreign language.

ICOCBW (I could of course be wrong), but I don’t think so. Already, the NextGens spend more time communicating via text messages, chat, instant messages and e-mail than they do in person or voice to voice.

A recent study, for example, found that nearly half of Korea’s teenagers are addicted to their mobile phones. A survey of 1,100 youths aged 14 to 19, conducted in Seoul by the Korea Agency for Digital Opportunity and Promotion, an arm of the Ministry of Communication, said that four out of 10 students send and receive text messages during class and that the same proportion sends more than 1,000 text messages a month.

One student reported frazzled nerves when she forgets to carry her cell phone. Another said he kept his cell phone next to him while bathing. The author stated, “The little instruments are not just a way to communicate, it seems, they are a part of their owner’s psyche.”

Even ITRW (in the real world), attention spans have shortened and patience has worsened. Busy executives or people in big cities may have always needed to speak “sound bites” due to rushed schedules, but now we are beginning to hear this behavior cross over in business everywhere.

Having the ability to get the point across more quickly on the phone, in person and via e-mail is almost a necessary skill.

For those of you who are developing the art of “fast talking,” check out How to Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds or Less by Milo O. Frank. For “long talkers,” it should be required reading.

But don’t worry, it’s short at just over 120 pages. LOL (laugh out loud).

IHTHBE (I hope this has been enlightening).

Orlando Business Journal – June 4, 2007

© American City Business Journals Inc. All rights reserved.