Emojis may be destined to replace words as our default form of communication, but there is one universal, nuanced expression no beaming yellow ball will ever be able to replace: the lols. The has. The translation of laughter to text.

When used correctly, there is nothing like the physical tap-tapping of keys to mimic real, honest human laughter. When used incorrectly, however, you look like a real douche. Eric Limer and I discuss this fine line in this latest installment of Overthinking Internet Semantics.


Ashley Feinberg: I never used to use "lol." I hated it. Even when it was ok to use it I hated it.

Eric Limer: Oh so you just started at step two.

Ashley: I didn't start using it until I got to Gizmodo and lost any sense of propriety.

Eric: What did you say instead?

Ashley: haha

Ashley: hahahha

Ashley: HAHAHAHAH

Ashley: And so forth.

Eric: Yeah there's a real sense of like hammering on the keys as you laugh.

Eric: Like, hahahaohhashhsha is way better than ROFL or LMAO.

Ashley: Also it's just an awful, fake thing. When people say lol after something, you know it really just means "you're joke was mediocre and/or I am deeply uncomfortable with myself as a human lol."

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Eric: But what me and my friends did (because we were assholes) is just invent an alternative stupid fucking thing. We

Ashley: ...........

Eric: God it hurts to say this

Ashley: ........................

Eric: We used to say "ial."

Eric: Ugh.

Ashley: What.

Ashley: Why.

Ashley: Is it... I am laughiaoghijsgd

Eric: Oh, no. It was worse honestly. It was, "I'm audibly laughing."

Ashley: Ugh.

Ashley: UGH.

Ashley: I just said ugh out loud.

Eric: I know, I heard you.

Ashley: But like, honestly, haha at the end of a line is just as bad as lol or whatever garbage you and your friends came up with.

Ashley: Sorry I can't come to your birthday lol.

Ashley: Sorry my grandma died haha.

Ashley: They are the same. Because if you think something is actually funny, it goes on a new line.

Ashley: haha (I acknowledge your joke.)

Ashley: hahah (You made a good joke.)

Ashley: ahhahahhaha (I find this legitimately amusing.)

Eric: ahgouiyftudygiukhalsijdk;'al (i am dead with laughter or i actually hate you and your joke)

Ashley: HAHAHAHHAH (I'm hitting on you/a serial killer.)

Eric: At least with dlksj;lahsdaslhasd there's no danger of somebody trying to say it in real life, like those horrible blights of human beings who SAY lol.

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Ashley: Eh, I don't think I actually KNOW anyone who says it out loud. Although I do have some deep-rooted aural memory. Where it is high pitched, and drawn out. Nasaly.

Eric: Like, "laaawwwwl." Man, fuck lawl.

Ashley: BUT either way. The point is, I have no idea why I started saying it at Gizmodo. I held our for a while, and judged all of you furiously for it.

Eric: It's because we talk so fucking much over IM to bother with anything that isn't super easy. That, and we're all showering in irony daily as a matter of course.

Ashley: It's not even ironic anymore, though. If you think that you're lying to yourself.

Ashley: One thing I don't do and will never do because I am not a goddamn animal, though, is "heh."

Ashley: Heh.

Ashley: I despise "heh."

Eric: I mean I guess the real point is that nothing matters lol.

Ashley: And really, when you think about it, we're all going to die one day anyway so why even say anything at all?

Eric: Why say anything at lol.

Ashley: Ugh.

Image by Michael Hession


Contact the author at ashley@gizmodo.com.