Here’s some sad news for everyone still unironically using LOL to denote that they’re laughing out loud at something hilarious. Like LMAO, ROFL, and the less popular but very festive LOLWTFBBQ, the original way to abbreviate your laughter is being replaced by the even shorter “ha” and “he.”
According to Quartz, Facebook has analyzed comments on posts that incited laughter and found that while around 50 percent of users used “haha” (with the number of “ha”s proportionate to the amount of laughter, less than five percent of people are using lol (which many of us love because the lowercase version looks like someone waving their hands in the air like they just don’t care) to communicate that they found a Minions meme hilarious. In fact, aside from “ha” and “he,” the younger generation is also relying on emoji to express their emotions. And yes, friends, younger generation is in there for a reason. Quartz reports that only olds use the outdated acronym for “laughing out loud” on the internet, suggesting that its use is relegated to those internet users who are in their 30s rather than their 20s.
Trying to further define how people laugh online, the research found that women emoji and LOL more than men, while male users haha and hehe more. Geographically, New York has been fastest to give up the LOL, while Phoenix, Arizona is more OK with it—and so is the south of the US in general, according to the study.
There are two things that Facebook isn’t taking into account, though. First, people say LOL all the time IRL because it’s a fun thing to do, and second, LOL has transformed from an expression of amusement to one of those things you put at the end of awkward text messages when you want to pretend you’re kidding, but you totally aren’t. People aren’t going to give those up so easily.
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