I am old enough to remember a time when if you needed to talk to someone, you had to pick up the phone. But now Internet chat, texting, twitter, etc., allows virtual teams to communicate just as effectively as those in the same office. And while these technologies have been great for communicating with team members in otherwise remote markets, it has introduced its share of challenges and has forced us to change the way we communicate.
While the key to effective communications is brevity, chat-based communications has taken it to an extreme. For example, when someone types “BRB”, they mean “Be Right Back”, “TTYL” means “Talk to You Later” and the word “you” is often substituted with the letter “u”. For those of us old enough to have fantasized about Ginger from Gilligan’s Island, this new lexicon can be difficult to grasp.
One member of our sales team “Sue” had an unusual perception on the proper use of the “lol” acronym. Instead of relaying the condition of “laughing out loud” she used it as more of an end of transmission designator. Much in the same manner that CB’ers would use “10-4” or the military would use “Roger”.
Me: “Hey Sue, How’s it going?”
Sue: “Hey, LOL”
Me: “How did your doctor’s visit go?”
Sue: “After some tests, it was determined that I have a flesh eating virus, LOL”
Sue: “Crap, there goes my left arm, LOL”
Me: “Oh my goodness, Sue!!!”
Sue: “Oh yeah, the pain cannot be described with mere words, LOL”
Sue: “Oh heavenly father, please take me now and give me my sweet release, LOL”
While I’m not proud about it, I loved chatting with Sue, may she rest in peace.