Communication Skills

Chat room speak: Telegram your success

There once was a telegram. Operators (or someone) listened to the message you wanted to send, and charged for every letter and every space. It made clear financial sense to abbreviate words and thoughts. A sentence that the telegram sender might write in a letter, for instance, I’ll see you Thursday for lunch to talk about the upcoming cross-Atlantic voyage, might become “Thursday lunch. Talk voyage.” in the telegram. It was a huge cost savings.

People didn’t start writing that way; they didn’t start talking that way. “Experts” weren’t up in arms about how the influence of the abbreviated telegram would diminish the English language. The wording was both unique and important to the telegram.

Fast forward to texting.

It seems that text messaging is causing all sorts of hysteria. In France, even President Sarkozy has taken a shot at the likes of JTM (je taime [I love you]) and Ta HT 1 KDO? (T’as achete un cadeau? [Have you brought a present?]). Everyone is certain texting will be the demise of civil discourse. Really.

Texting saves time (today’s currency). It’s important to the success of the communication. All it takes is a bit of common sense to know that LOL is great in a text, chat room or instant message, and “I’m laughing” or “Thanks for the laugh” or “Your message made me smile” is best in a more formal email.

Let’s save our strength for something that really matters.

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