IYKWIM: (if you know what i mean)

jean-michel's post about TLDR and RTFM had me looking into the world of initialisms for the first time. initialisms, according to wikipedia, differ from acronyms in that they are not pronounced as a word but by each of their letters separately. initialisms and acronyms are handy for those who don't have time to spell things out; this is why they seem to abound mostly in the military and business worlds. what i find curious is that this abbreviated form of human communication is also prevalent in casual internet interaction. for instance, the initialism TLDR is a common internet response to a post that is long and boring: it stands for "too long, didn't read." my hunch is that a person who doesn't have the patience to spell out those four little words isn't likely to have an attention span for much of any reading material.

don't get me wrong; i am all about brevity, just not at the cost of meaning. there is nothing tangible about an initialism; no--as it is said in french--'liason.' at least an acronym forms a word, and a word is automatically imbued with associations. as acronyms age, they can harden into diamonds undifferentiated from other beloved pieces of our vocabulary: sonar, radar, scuba. these are words you can use in a poem. and you can use "rolling on the floor laughing" in a poem but you cannot use ROTFL.

i'm sorry you just cannot.

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