Sunday, April 28, 2013

H8rs Gonna H8

What is this compulsion people have, primarily on the internet, but also in the real world, for using unnecessary abbreviations? In some circumstances, indeed, frequent abbreviation makes sense. When one tweets (loathsome term!), one must cut and abbreviate ruthlessly in order to be able to say much at all. But rarely is this necessary in a comment box and never in the primary source work.

I'm not speaking of those common workaday abbreviates like NATO, USA, USSR or the like. Nor do I object to the creation of abbreviations for a phrase to be repeated many times throughout a body of writing. What I question is the need for such terms as IIRC, IMHO, BTW, and the one I had never seen until recently: ISTR. That last, apparently, stood in for "I seem to recall."

I know I'm not the first person to rail against this impulse and I shan't be the last, but what I'm really curious about at the moment (ATM?!) is why some folks have this impulse. Are they really in that much of a hurry? Do these phrases really occur that often? Will they all be nearly universally understood? Also, where's my cane? I need to chase these dang kids off my lawn.