Lol… lots of love, or laugh out loud?  Does it matter, as long as you know the context in which it is used?  I have one friend for definite who uses it as ‘lots of love’.  Many, however, use it in the usual sense, ‘laugh out loud’.

Its one of those things you need to understand in context. Sometimes acronyms can mean different things to different people and can even be used as a word in their own right. A younger friend, describing a fun evening with others, said, ‘yeah, we had lots of lols’. I knew he meant it was a very funny evening full of laughter.

Lol makes sense in context. In the one case, I knew it referred to laughter. In another, by a relative, I know I am being wished lots of love.  Since I know the people I can interpret what they mean.

The problem with LOL of course is when you don’t know the context. And as with anything, if you don’t know the context it becomes hard to know what to think of a statement.

Depending on my state of mind, a stranger texting or writing ‘lol’ to me might either feel like a loving affirmation or someone being a creep, someone joining in with my laughter or poking fun at me. The stranger won’t know my state of mind so the interpretation of their ‘lol’ is my responsibility.

Or is it? Is it always the recipients responsibility to ensure they have understood correctly or can it ever be the sender’s responsibility?  Take an example I recently heard of a text message:

“Hey son, I am so sorry to tell you but your uncle Fred has just died. Lol.”

Was that a family using modern communication to share tragic news and remind the recipient they were loved, or was it a sick joke?  Putting aside the question of communicating such things by text, should the sender have thought more closely about how their well meaning ‘lots of love’ lol might be interpreted?

Perhaps in written communication nowadays, especially when liberally using text acronyms, more thought should be given to how it may be received (and by whom)? Perhaps a bit of self editing is necessary to ensure people understand what you want them to understand. So LOL and LOL  should be replaced by the good old fashioned words, love and laughter. Makes sense to me.