Not so long ago I sent an SMS to some of my family and friends letting them know that I would be changing my phone number (if you didn’t get this message, don’t bovver asking why). I signed off with my usual ‘xoxo’ and waited for the snarky “you’re changing your number again?” comments. What I didn’t expect to get was a response from my mother letting me know that Daddy wants to know who ‘xoxo’ is! Well that was me! I was finished! I ROFLMAO for about half an hour before gathering enough composure to Tweet and Facebook this comment so the world could laugh with me.
All this got me thinking- in a world where interracial, intercultural and international communication is endorsed; did we at some point forget to include intergenerational communication to this list? I get the fact that most baby boomers don’t have Facebook, Twitter or My Space accounts. I get that for them making a call is so much easier than sending an sms, and that Mixit is an instruction you give to someone in the kitchen and not an instant messaging application. I get all that. BUT; what if the rate at which the world of communication is changing is so fast it’s frightened our generation of baby boomers into feigning disinterest? Are we so insensitive as a generation that we would want to create a language which we know our folks would never understand or is it simply a case of gently telling the Baby Boomers and the generations before them to GTFOH because we have arrived?
I remember sitting in my Std 7 (now referred to as Grade 9…see how my point is slowly being made?) English class being forced to analyze Elizabeth Barret Browning’s sonnet 43 “How do I love thee” and thinking to myself- “OMG, like I wish these people could like have just used simple English ya know!” It took me until Matric to fully understand what and who Elizabeth was talking about, and another *mumble mumble* years for the impact of the sonnet to resonate with me. I still don’t really know why we had to learn Shakespeare, but I am thankful only for today that we did; because without having to sit through an hour long English lesson deciphering old English I would not be able to sit here in my Carrie Bradshaw stance and muse on the transformation of the English language over the centuries.
I can’t imagine how the words ‘groovy’ and ‘rad’ could have ever been considered dope; but I can totally see how ‘Bootylicious’ made it into the Oxford English dictionary because, well…we were in need of a word that could describe all the junk in my trunk. Seriously though, did you know that the word ‘blap’ has an actual meaning or that an ‘angry gorilla’ isn’t actually an angry gorilla? Seriously, look them up in the Urban Dictionary- you will be blown away by their definitions and the definitions of thousands of other words and acronyms out there; and you will realize that while you’re LOLing on IM with your BFF someone out there has just coined a new acronym which will leave you feeling like an OF!
With that said, I think it would be best for us to not get too attached to our ‘clever’ little acronyms and words, because (call me The Oracle) I think that in about 20 odd years, my daughter who will be 25 then, will say something to me and I will most likely give the same laugh inducing response I got from Daddy… who is xoxo?
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