Hashing it out with Hashtags

When people hear I’m an editor, the first thing they often assume is that I’m the grammar police.

I am not.

However, I do love language and a little part of my soul dies every time I see it abused. And unfortunately, that happens every time I go on the Internet and am inundated with strings of acronyms and hashtags instead of actual sentences.

Now let’s get something straight.

I like Twitter. I like texting in small doses. I like Facebook updates that don’t involve a laundry list of your accomplishments, ailments or actual laundry list. But to each their own, I get it.

What I don’t get is how it’s now acceptable to stop actually using full words and stringing them together in these things that we call “sentences” to complete thoughts and instead abbreviating them to an acronym or hashtag.

Instead of writing something excitedly, people now lazily throw in #excited. They go with  #missingyou instead of writing “I miss you.”  And instead of adding a caption to the photo of their completely ordinary breakfast, you get 12 hashtags that make absolutely no sense and just look ridiculous–#breakfast #eggporn #toast #breakthefast #truth #food #idontevenknowwhatimdoinganymore #hashbrowns

Really? It’s come to that?

I’ve heard the excuse that it’s faster, but if you type “UR” instead of “you’re” and then add extra “Os” to indicate “UR SOOO happy it’s Friday,” I think that you’re blowing your cover—or that you don’t know which “you’re” you should use.

Simply #WTF

That combination hashtag/acronym above is my attempt at a segue into texting/online abbreviations, such as the ever-popular “LOL” that most often serves as a convenient way to end a boring electronic conversation.

Half the time these things make no sense — no one is literally rolling on the floor laughing their ass off (ROFLMAO), and if they are, they had best log off and seek immediate medical attention — and the other half of the time I have no idea what they mean because THEY AREN’T ACTUALLY WORDS.

So because I’m annoyed and am looking to change my world in some way—the rest of the world is up to you guys—I have proposed some more practical meanings to common acronyms that make more sense to me.

ROFLMAO: Ready? Okay. First Let’s Make Acronyms Original

WTF: Where’s The Food?

STFU: Scanning Twitter for Unfollowers

GI: Google It

IRL: I’m Relaxing. Leave.

RMBI: Read My Blog Instead

OMG: Overused Minced Garlic

BFF: Boobs Falling Flat

CRGOYDF: Conversation Required. Get Off Your Damn Phone

TTYL: Tea Trumps Your Latte

SMH: Swiffering My House

NIWYM: No Idea What You Mean

IMHO: I’m Making Hummus, Okay?

FML: Feeling Mighty Lazy

FWIW: Frequent Whining. I’m Writing.

ASAP: Attention! Send Abby Pesto

LOL: Laundry. Overflowing Laundry

BRB: Busy Reading Books

YJMTUYW: You Just Made That Up You Weirdo


FTW: F*@$ This Winter

Like the blog? Buy the books!

Any suggestions you would add to the list?

50 responses to “Hashing it out with Hashtags

  1. I love the new acronyms and I’m a bit jealous if that picture of snow is in your back yard. We’ve got rain here in Seattle.

  2. I despise hashtags and only use them when I’m live tweeting something and want to be sure the tweet ends up on that timeline like #emmyawards – which is what hashtags were made for. Er, I mean, for what hashtags were made!

    It also took me like 6 months to figure out (aka, google) FTW. I thought people were trying to be cute and say “F*ck the What” but turns out it is “For the Win” …and really overused already.

  3. One of my best friends is a high school English teacher and I am horrified every time she tells me how many papers she grades that have internet/text clipped language substituted for actual words. I’m pretty glad to have grown up prior to all this madness beginning.

    I’d say this post had me #rotfl, but now it has an alternative meaning so that wouldn’t make sense. SRSLY tho, this post gave me the biggest smile. I was #SATWAMF (smiling all the way across my face). You had me at #eggporn.

  4. I like #RMBI

    I’d offer #JSU – just shut up, #STACD – stop texting and come downstairs(for dudes like me with teen daughters), and #IQDHHMOADUR – Inspirational quotes don’t hide how much of a doosh your are

  5. Best post I’ve read in a long time. Loved it!! I wanted to click the “Like” button a hundred times!! Thanks for the laugh, but I agree with you wholeheartedly.

  6. I feel your pain, from another angle. I have to teach writing to college students who have never before been forced to write in sentences, let alone full paragraphs, and have no understanding of even basic grammar rules. It can be painful. I’ve written about this topic as well, and am always glad to confirm, “It’s not just me, right?”

    • You have my deepest sympathies. I’m glad I grew up in a time where this wasn’t ever an issue. People were just bad at spelling, looked up the word and moved on.

  7. The part about hashtags and breakfast cracked me up, of course. I avoided hashtags for a long time and now only use them so that people who are interested in #hashbrowns and #breakfastfood can find my tofu scramble pictures. #scramblesforthewinyo

    The thing that perplexes me about abbreviations is how random and unnecessary the subject of them seems. Were people writing “shaking my head” so regularly that they needed to find a way to shorten their time spent writing it out? Maybe less caffeine is the real answer here. LOL and ROTFL have always bugged me (a lot) because I’m a literal person, and when people say they are laughing out loud over something that’s not really that funny, it perplexes me.

    As to your last picture, want my internet rant of the season? It bugs me to no end how when people on Facebook post about how miserable they are in the cold, someone in a warm weather climate feels a strong compulsion to inform that person of the temperature of where they live, the tank top they are wearing, and the flip flops that are getting worn out from use. Isn’t it enough to get to go to the beach and get a suntan without rubbing it into someone else’s face about it? Someone who is bracing from windchill, feeling like a shut-in, and miserable shoveling yet again? Each one of them thinks they are so original and clever. It is the same compulsion that forces people to write “bacon” under the status of someone who is vegan. Clearly this needs to be a blog post. If only I wasn’t a food writer…

    • THANK YOU for the last part of this comment. Yes, I realize this is winter, but this is also a really rare winter and -30 degrees isn’t something to joke about. We’re also 55 inches above our snow total from where we were last year already. The suggestion to move doesn’t help me right now, so thanks so much for the suggestion. Don’t even get me started on the meat comments on vegan posts. Ugh. WTF. 😉

      • Yes, this winter has been brutal, which hasn’t helped my attitude towards those gloating comments. Whenever it happens, I wonder if those same people would comment to someone with a newborn who has been keeping them up at nights, “Oh, I have been getting 9 hours of sleep every night! It’s amazing. I feel so refreshed everyday!” Yes, the person chose to have a kid, and we chose to live where we do, but that doesn’t mean that they have to be insensitive every time someone expresses their frustration when things are hard and unpleasant.

  8. Whoa. Longest comment ever. I think I DID just write a blog post…

  9. I love your new acronyms. My favourite: WTF. Not that in greedy or anything 🙂

  10. I held out for a long time, but I am guilty of using these now (not the hashtags, I suck at Twitter and all I do is retweet.) especially the LOL to end a conversation.

    This is one I made up and send to my husband a lot: YRAFI. And also I like: IDKOC.

    And what is LOLZ? Laughing out loudz? Laughing out loud in your sleep! WTF, IDKOC.

  11. Attention! Send Abby Pesto! That’s my favorite. I’m guilty of hashtagging (#gulity) and of acronnyming, YIKES.

  12. I have a niece that sends me texts which I have to go on the internet and try to interpret. If that isn’t bad enough the dang kid speaks two languages and likes to merge them. Sigh…..

  13. Is it bad that I didn’t know what several of the acronyms meant in the first place? #feelingold #urfunny

    • Nope. I didn’t know either and have to Google some of that crap just for this post. If people actually use them and I can’t figure it out, I simply move on with my life. #iamoldtoo

    • I was just coming to the comments to say that very thing. I still have never typed an acronym unless in an ironic or sarcastic way. I am guilty of hashtagging, but never more than one and only after watching the Justin Timberlake/Jimmy Fallon video. That shit is HIGH-LARIOUS.

      I’m sure there is a better acronym for that…

  14. I come across some of those acronyms, and I do find some useful, but people always take things too far. I have a Twitter account, which I’ve heard is really useful for getting your name into every room in the universe, but I’ve not made head or tail of it and so am firmly stuck in my own living room

  15. *sigh* You’re all making me feel really old. I don’t even know what most of those acronyms are! (And it’s minus degrees here, too, but at least the snow has stopped, for today.)

  16. I don’t know what the original acronyms are, but I’m positive yours are much more funny!

  17. I remember in the embryonic stage of acronyms, someone asked what LMAO meant. I mischievously answered that it meant “lick me all over.”
    I have guilt now. Not enough to lose sleep over, but enough to giggle like the girl I am.

    ~ Darling
    p.s. I completely empathize with your take on grammar. I am an educator, so at times I get an eye tic that develops into a full-blown sight seizure reading some of the written work online.

  18. IRL is my favorite. My wife uses acronyms in our texts & emails to the point where I have to Google some of what she’s telling me. I may have used one or two in the past but generally I refuse to use them except for sarcastic effect.

  19. We got my dad an audio birthday card featuring Phil from Modern Family. He says, “I’m cool. I’m hip. I know acronyms: LOL, laugh out loud…WTF, why the face?” My siblings and I would laugh every time my dad opened it, but I’m not sure if got it.

  20. We got my dad an audio birthday card featuring Phil from Modern Family. He says, “I’m cool. I’m hip. I know acronyms: LOL, laugh out loud…WTF, why the face?” My siblings and I would laugh every time, but I’m not sure if my dad got it.

  21. #SMHHP (Send Me Hash-tagged Hashbrowns…and Pesto). Lordy girl, you really do crack me up…thanks for being such a pip (as my grandmama would say). Hmmm…maybe she was ahead of her time? PIP could be “Pretty Insane Proofreader”?

  22. You make my heart happy. My little, black, English teacher heart.

    • Ha! That makes me happy. And I had to laugh because we used to say, “Bless her heart. The cold little stone that it is” about a family member. Then it was transferred to me, but whatever. 😉

  23. As always Abby – clever, relevant and entertaining!:)

  24. # Seriously #you # rock.

    I try to hash tag sparingly now that I use the Twitter and know what it is. I felt naughty today when I hash tagged on Facebook. Some people do the long sentences as a hash tag, and you spend ten seconds trying to figure out what they were trying to say before giving up. I was going to give an example, but it made me twitch a little.

    I’m going to to start using your version of WTF and raise you one SNC (Sarah Needs Chocolate).

  25. This has to be one of the most humorous posts I have read on WordPress. #awesome 🙂

  26. Yes! Hate “UR” so much and I’m not even the Grammar Police either! It’s just cause I’m old and have some sort of appreciation of the English language that I refuse to ever be that lazy.
    My other favorite thing you mentioned was the whole nonsensical hashtagging of photos. If I see this under your Instagrams I totally judge you.
    Enjoyed all of your new proposed meanings! Feeling Might Lazy will have to be my new mantra cause usually it’s Eff My Life!

  27. Abby, I know you don’t know me and I only discovered your blog a few weeks ago… but… I think I love you. Seriously, every post I read makes me feel like you have a transmitter from my brain connected to your fingers which transcribes a funnier, wittier, and better constructed version of some of the thoughts in my head. #soulmates #creepy #sorrynotsorry (Actually, I am sorry for that abuse of the English language.)

    • Ha! Well, if you have any good ideas you can transmit over the cyber waves to be released through my fingers on the keyboard, I’m more than open to suggestions! 😉

  28. Awesome. I almost peed myself at the breakfast bit. 😉 The whole hashtag thing cracks me up, probably because I am not on Twitter.

  29. You’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award. congrats. Go to http://wp.me/p2RT1G-g7

  30. Oh, Abby! You’re so hilarious!

    I think I might be the only person who still calls hashtags, “pound.”

    Also – my favorite acronyms you invited is:

    SMH: Swiffering My House

  31. Your acronyms are way better. Ignore the fact I don’t know what the original acronym stands for in most cases. I refuse, flat out refuse, to use LOL. Even typing it now, I cringe.

  32. Can somebody make LOL illegal and subject to a painful disembowelling death?
    And… I wonder why people put hashtags in blog posts? Why???

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