The Aurora Borealis, crop circles and the mass extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago are more easily explained than the phenomenon of instant messaging.
My kids can be next door to a friend, and instead of walking outside and talking over the fence (Dad, the sun is sooo hot!) they'll chat for hours on IM.
For hours. To the kid next door.
A phone conversation would only take a minute or two, yet they choose to type into a cold, unfeeling computer program which whisks each message across the ether and simultaneously removes every bit of emotion, nuance and meaning. All the smiley faces in the world won't truly convey the message or emotion of the spoken word. No wonder we're always mad at each other.
For example, the following sentence can be taken a number of ways:
"How many times has he warned you about fixating on sheep?"
First it could be asking how MANY times. Or, how many times has HE warned you. Or, how many times has he warned YOU. Or, about FIXATING on sheep. Or, fixating on SHEEP.
See? Different emphasis. A phone call would make the message crystal clear; you are wasting your time on sheep when goats are perfect replacements. Yet, we continue to be confused by things we should be completely clear about.
I am growing tired of terms like LOL. Look, LOL means 'laugh out loud.' If you didn't laugh out loud, don't type LOL. Okay?
ROFLMAO means 'rolling on the floor laughing my ass off.' Can we agree it would be difficult to reach the keyboard from the floor? So you weren't rolling anywhere, were you?
I suggest new, more appropriate acronyms:
CHUCKLE - Chuckle
STHWWS - Slight Tee Hee With Wry Smile
IFWYJSPFA - I Found What You Just Said Pretty Freaking Amusing (substitute the F if you wish)
OTWFIAPSOW - Okay That Was Funny In A Perverse Sort Of Way
TMPSOOMN - That Made Pepsi Shoot Out Of My Nose
YMMLSHIPAL - You Made Me Laugh So Hard I Peed A Little
Sure, those will take longer to type, but at least you won't be lying. I want real honesty in my IMs.