My last several posts talked about the requirement to have good writing skills as an IT professional. I also cautioned about not allowing our writing skills to be dampened down by the short forms we like to use in texting in tweeting, and the looseness of language that those media allow. Short forms are fun in bursts of conversation when texting with friends outside of the professional arena, but they should never be allowed to creep into our project communications.
In working with Gen Y IT professionals, and as the father of two young adults, I’ve also taken to texting and its use of the cryptic as well. Some time ago I was asked to address the international convention of the Active 20-30 clubs of the U.S. and Canada. Active 20-30 is a service organization of – you guessed it – women and men in their 20s and 30s. These young adults have a passion for improving the lives of the children in their communities. They also like to live life to the full, and their annual conventions are no exception.
The convention attendees were the age of my own adult children; so I thought to break the ice by showing them that texting at my age was also commonplace. Our generations just had different meanings for the same text shorthand. I got the laughs I was hoping for (hopefully they weren’t just being polite), and it all helped to get my message across better. Here are some of the cross-generational comparisons I made:
|ROFL – rolling on the floor laughing||ROFL CGU – rolling on the floor laughing; can’t get up|
|OMG – Oh, my God!||OMG – ow! my gout|
|BM – bite me||BM – bowel movement|
|EOL – end of lecture||EOL – end of life|
|P911 – parent alert (for teens)||P911 – Help! I’m out of Depends®!|
|SWAG – silly wild-assed guess||SWAG – so, where are my glasses?|
|BTW – by the way||BTW – bring the wheelchair|
|BFF – best friends forever||BFF – best friend’s funeral|
|LOL – laughing out loud||LOL – living on Lipitor®|
As I wrote in a blog previously this week, “Is texting the new writing?”, texting is a great communication tool. So have fun with it; but don’t bring it into your formal communications.
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