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Facebook pitfalls: LOL does not give you license to say whatever you want

Updated on May 1, 2012

Let’s face it, modern communication is not done the way it was 20 years ago, and certainly not the way it was 100 years ago. In the old days people would talk face to face and discuss things. They would agree, disagree, debate, resolve, decide, conclude, discuss and all those words that relate to historical communication. Nowadays, people “leave messages”, “make posts”, “update statuses” and “write comments” all of which are done behind the safety of their internet persona.

This has produced a new generation that feels able to say what they want without consequence. Or so it would seem. That fact is that although communication has changed, the inbuilt nature of people has not. We are all still susceptible to harmful words.

Words are extremely powerful!

According to Proverbs 18:21, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue…”

In this day and age, there is a whole new language being spoken (or more accurately typed!) Things like BTW, BRB, OMG, TTFN and many others have become commonplace on the computer screens of the world. We have learned that LOL at the end of a sentence or comment means “laugh out loud” implying that either the comment they just read, or the comment they themselves typed made them “laugh out loud”. I wonder how many people actually, really, physically, with an audible sound (i.e. out loud) laughed? A small number would be my guess. Rather it seems to me that the LOL at the end of the sentence has just become a tag on.

The use of this LOL tag on has enabled many people to write a comment that they intend to be hurtful and then soften it with an LOL at the end, or possible it’s sister J/K (Just kidding). This may be all well and good on the face of it, but the principle still stands that words are powerful. Writing a hurtful comment and saying you are “just kidding” does not change the fact that the words of that hurtful comment can still hurt. LOL does not absolve you from the responsibility your words carry.

Bang, bang... you're dead!  LOL!
Bang, bang... you're dead! LOL!

The dead cat syndrome...

Suppose I had the power to kill something. Let’s use a cat for an example. Suppose my neighbour’s cat came and pooped on my lawn and I took out my .22 and shot it dead in its own poop. My neighbor saw it and I said, “Only kidding” as I laughed out loud. The cat is still dead! No amount of LOL’s or J/K’s will bring it back. Maybe an extreme example, but words are the same. Once spoken, they are out there. They cannot be taken back and they ARE powerful.

Words build up, or tear down...

Just consider how you feel when someone says something nice about you. If that is repeated it can change the way you feel about something in your life. In the same way if someone consistently says you are ugly or lazy, you can also get a complex about those things. Words are powerful.

The LOL issue is not only limited to social networking though. Everyday, people are careless with their words. Each one of us is responsible for what we say, who we say it to and also how we say it. When we type a comment and think we can soften it with LOL, I challenge you to examine your motives behind the comment. Quite often we are putting the other person down, albeit in jest, because it makes us feel better about ourselves.

So, let your LOL be genuine, and your J/K? Well, I suggest we lose that one altogether. After all, according to Geoffrey Chaucer I believe, many a true word is spoken in jest isn’t it?


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    • RunningDeer profile image

      RunningDeer 5 years ago from Iowa

      I absolutely cannot stand LOL. I read it slowly and with distain in each letter. I despise LOL but greatly appreciate your hub. Voted up!

    • dkalvarez profile image

      dkalvarez 5 years ago from Boca Raton, FL

      Good point.