You've seen it in a chat window. You've probably kldjhsljfalshj-ed a few times yourself. In context, it always makes sense, but how can you properly explain the text-scream phenomenon of lakgjiosdgjitheiow? What does i;slahkdsgkuhdsj really mean?

Well, from a purely philosophical standpoint it's—er. It's sort of... Well—liklagjdsgajsdialgkds. Whatever. I give up.

The use cases of a good ojfdaghksdhjdk are vast and varied, so our own Eric Limer and I decided to try and pin it down on the only medium that makes sense—AOL Instant Messenger. Our attempt to work out the complexities of the problem, in the tradition of Socrates, follows.

Edited for grammar and clarity.


Eric Limer: It's a nuance game. There's pi;ahgouiyftudygiukhalsijdk;'al (I am dead with laughter OR I actually hate you and everything you stand for) vs lol (fuck you i hate you and you wont ever even get it).

Advertisement

Ashley Feinberg: But akldjgsjdgjiahds is different from haha because unlike HAHAHAHHAH (I'm hitting on you/manic), lkadsjghldkjst is the only thing that is only expressible through computers.

Ashley: Like whats the out-loud equivalent of alkgjdsgjsgj'

Eric: Doubling over?

Ashley: In my head, it's me tearing down bookshelves and breaking shit, setting things on fire, bleeding from my eyeballs, what have you.

Advertisement

Eric: Yeah... man, fuck lol. Because lol is trying to digitize this super human thing. Whereas olahjdkjfdhkagsjhldahgs is this expression of rage with no human counterpart. It's so much more interesting.

Ashley: I forgot my notebook can I copy your math howmework lol.

Ashley: Hitler is back the holocaust is starting again adlkgasjdgkjasdgljdasjdlgkbfs.

Advertisement

Eric: Yeah but it can also be much lighter while still being angry. Someone said something mildly embarassing auskhjdkagsdhjasd.

Eric: It's no so much rage as wordless exasperation.

Ashley: What no. I was GOING to say rage—exasperated rage but a: WHY ISNT THIS PERSON BETTER aldkjdfasdagsjlkgad.

Eric: That is a very altruistic and positive way to be enraged, Ashley.

Ashley: I've been likened to a bloggier, less-dead Ghandi.

Ashley: Ok but what about hahahhaldkgjhasijgoirjt (I am laughing to keep from screaming).

Eric: It's really just raw, completely context dependent emotion.

Ashley: Frustration, passion.

Eric: Frustration most frequently, but there's a lot of variety to that frustration. Like, ailuh;skljdhgkash is a pretty uniquely context sensitive "expression" for a medium that is so devoid of context.

Advertisement

Eric: Like, you have to trust the recipient. You dont uaktfilvyjnsk;mdl'a,; at someone you don't really know.

Ashley: I mean you wouldn't be... Like, I can't think of a situation where you'd be gchatting/im-ing someone you don't know about something that would illicit alkdgjsjlgibsjfdaidgkfjbdgl.

Ashley: Because it's a shit talk thing, which is something you generally do amongst friends—or at least people you WANT to be your friends.

Advertisement

Eric: Yeah, it is kind of a shit talk thing, but it can also be flattery? Not to the person you're talking to obviously, but about whatever you're referring to.

Eric: Like what about "ouiytdrytyftgjykuhlijko'pl this is perfect [link to a really funny thing]."

Eric: So good I cant stand it sort of thing.

Ashley: Yeah or like if you're just mildly hungry.

Ashley: And its like "ladkjgksgldjsdgjfiskgl."

Eric: Now you're just abusing it. You're sick.

Ashley: Or what about when you want to express that you've lost your faith and no longer believe in an omniscient lord and you're like alkgalsghsidoghsdg.

Eric: Sure. Just like that.