I remember the first time I ever heard the acronym "LOL" spoken aloud.
I was in seventh grade, and I honestly thought this girl had a stuttering problem or something similar. My confusion must have shown on my face, because one of my friends quickly explained "It stands for 'laugh out loud.' "
That confused me even more, because the girl wasn't laughing. There wasn't even the slightest change in her facial expression.
That was before I started texting and IMing people on a regular basis. By my sophomore year of high school, I had texted on my friends' phones enough to know what "TTYL," "BRB," "IDK," "ROFL" and "ILY" meant. Personally, I try to avoid using these, especially the last one, "ILY" -- "I love you." Seems like if you truly love someone, you should be able to type it out, even if there are misspellings like "I luv u." Still, to each their own.
From using these sorts of acronyms in everyday conversation to encountering some strange mishaps, texting brings it own set of pros and cons to Top of Utah teens.
Some say it's terrible, tragic and almost unforgivable when kids speak these acronyms aloud, although it's hard to find anyone who hasn't done it at some time.
Northridge High senior Mariah Smith, for instance, admits that she even corrupted her mother.
"I used to say 'IDK' in conversations, and it really confused my mom at first, then she started using it!" Smith says.
Natalie Whiting, a Davis High senior, is also a fan of "text-speak." She says she uses "JK" and "LOL" on occasion, but "merely in jest."
Jesting is the way my friends and I treat these strange new word inventions. Instead of saying "R-O-F-L" for "rolling on the floor laughing," we use "rofl" -- pronounced phonetically. The same is true of "L-O-L" ("lol") and many others.
Still, texting isn't all fun and strange acronyms. Some truly terrible (funny later, but awful at the time) things can happen if you aren't careful, especially if you use T-9 and predictive text. The same can be true with phones that have a full QWERTY keyboard because of how close the letters are.
"One time I was trying to send 'Viking' and it turned into 'bikini' -- and I sent it!" Whiting says. She adds that luckily, in this case, "They knew what I was talking about though."
Nic Taylor, a senior at Davis High, says, "I was once sending a text about 'Jordan,' and it ended up being something really offensive about 'Koreans.' "
Other unfortunate happenings can be something simple, like sending the text to the wrong person. No big deal, right? Wrong. As Fremont High senior Trevor Ekstrom found out, you might want to be a bit careful.
"I sent a text to a girl that liked me, telling her that I didn't like her back and it wouldn't work out if we dated because I was with someone else, but I accidentally sent it to my real girlfriend," Ekstrom says.
Logan Beck, a Clearfield High junior, admits, "I send texts to the wrong people all the time!"
Jon France tells about a different kind of texting experience.
"One time, I jokingly said to a girl that she had a weird way of asking me out," the Fremont High senior says. "She came back with a text saying she wasn't asking me out but I had a weird way of suggesting I liked her. I didn't know how to reply but I guess it worked. The next thing I know, I'm dating her."
ILY ... TTYL
We teens can all feel a little happier when our parents text us -- unless it's something about being home an hour early -- whether it be due to their typos, attempts at using acronyms, or just the brevity.
For Whiting, it's because "whenever my mom sends a text, she ends it with 'Love, Mom,' like it's a letter, and it makes me feel really nice inside."
From mistakes to soothed heartaches to new relationships, texting is a daily part of life, for better or worse. Even if it's sometimes annoying to see -- or hear -- "LOL" and "JK," it's a great way to communicate.
Dezarae Beaman is a senior at Syracuse High School. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you had a crazy or funny texting mishap? Tell us about it by leaving a comment on this story!