Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Analysis of a Print Newspaper Article on Social Media

The Wall St. Journal ran an article today about text acronyms, "Quick! Tell Us What KUTGW Means." In cleaning my office, I came across a similar article from the New York Times from 1999 on the new lexicon.

While the world of social media has changed a lot, not much has changed since 2006 in terms of teens developing a new language of their own that takes advantage of new communications tools. The article cites, after all LOL, ROFL, OMG and other examples that have been around so long that some established dictionaries now include them.

What's new is that there are more websites that serve as an English-text dictionary, primarily for parents concerned with what their children are doing and for marketers trying to reach children.

But that's not why the Journal ran its story today. Or why the Times ran its story three years ago.

Fact is: the kids who use the acronyms know what those acronyms stand for -- unlike the person cited in the Journal article who thought LOL meant "Lots of love," and included it in a condolence email. So the new shorthand isn't news to the people using them. They're not necessarily news to the parents or marketers, either.

The Journal, like the Times, ran its article to show that it's with-it, that it "gets" what the kids are doing, and is a relevant as parents who learn the lingo to stay in touch with their kids.

On that score, I'd tell the Journal, Keep Up the Good Work (KUTGW).

But don't expect the kids to be fooled. And don't expect the Journal, when it decides to GETW (get back to work) to start text shorthand in its articles.

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