The Death of lol


“A new report from Facebook into how users express laughter shows that ‘haha’ and its variants are by far the most common terms used on the social network. They accounted for 51.4 percent of mirth in the anonymized comments and posts looked at by Facebook’s data team, with laughter emoji claiming 33.7 percent, and ‘hehe’ and its cognates 13.1 percent. The once-mighty ‘lol’ only appeared in 1.9 percent of the text sampled by Facebook — a pretty staggering fall for an expression that was once synonymous with online txt speak. Although not surprising for such a venerable term, ‘lol’ proved slightly more popular with older users. Differences between generations were not heavily pronounced, but it was emoji that were most popular with users with the youngest median age, while ‘haha,’ ‘hehe,’ and ‘lol’ were favored by progressively older individuals.”
— As a confirmed “hahaha” man myself — and, more importantly, as someone who has always read “lol” as vaguely hostile or sarcastic — my joy at lol’s passing is only tempered by the knowledge that pretty soon all written communication, even idiot acronyms whose ambiguities are only amplified by the lack of tonal clarity textual conversation provides, will be superseded by those stupid smiley faces so popular with the kids. Thank God our post-literacy world will only last a little longer before we’re running from fires and eaten by robots.