What Your Salute Says About You

Related to yesterday’s post on email sign-offs, here is an older article about email greetings, excerpted here:

How you start an email reveals a lot more about your intentions than you know. Common e-greetings for etiquette voodoo.

“Hey,” means you want something from me.

“Hey:” means you expect something from me.

“Greetings:” denotes that I signed up for your dreadful boutique’s mailing list in hopes of impressing somebody in the store, and now I resent all of the parties involved, myself most of all.

“Hello” signifies that you spent too much time thinking about everything that follows, or that you are high.

“Hi,” suggests you think you’re important.

“Hi!” means I’m going to delete your email without reading it.

“Dear,” expresses that—despite your outdated AOL address and the hundreds of forwarded conspiratorial rants in your Sent folder—this is only the third email you’ve ever sent and the details are better suited for our upcoming family get-together.


What “XOXO” Really Means

Excerpt from this article on email sign-offs:

“XOXO”: Contrary to popular belief, this does not mean “hugs and kisses.” If anything, it’s intended to convey light affection, like a pat on the butt from a Texan aunt. You shouldn’t take it as anything more.

“XOX”: This indicates full, throbbing, sexual desire. The person who signs off this way is hoping that you’ll picture her naked silhouette playing the saxophone in some mist.

“XO”: This is like when you lean in to kiss your Texan aunt on the cheek but you both turn the wrong way and kiss on the mouth.

“X”: This is a simple, respectful nod, indicating that everything is going absolutely fine.

“Thanks”: This is completely sarcastic.

“Sincerely”: This is the way Abraham Lincoln always signed off, so take that for what it’s worth.

“Peace out!”: This person probably has an earring in the shape of a turtle, and tries to get everyone to notice it.

Do you speak 2016?

Excerpt from this article:

It is impossible to know what new words will become fashionable in the year ahead: some of the buzzwords of 2016 have not yet been coined. But a few of the trends likely to shape the year are apparent, and they provide hints about the vocabulary that may be in vogue.

Technology is a reliable source of new words. Many of them jump from noun to verb, as “fax”, “e-mail”, “Google” and “Face­book” did. Whichever social network, say Slack (office-workers) or This (long-form journalism aficionados), becomes a breakout darling can expect its name to become an ordinary verb (“Slack me later”). One to watch is Venmo, which lets people send each other small payments (“Just venmo me”).

Some companies fight the “genericide” of their trademarks. Adobe, for example, campaigned to replace “to photoshop” with “to enhance using Adobe® Photoshop® software”. But they are powerless to stop it.



OMG! The Hyperbole of Internet-Speak

OMG literally dying, illustration by Tiffany Ford

Excerpt from this article:

“It’s almost like ‘dying’ has become a filler for anytime anyone says anything remotely entertaining,” she said. “Like, if what you’re saying won’t legitimately put me to sleep, I respond with, ‘OMG dying.’”

R.I.P. to the understatement. Welcome to death by Internet hyperbole, the latest example of the overly dramatic, forcibly emotive, truncated, simplistic and frequently absurd ways chosen to express emotion in the Internet age (or sometimes feign it).

Other examples: THIS (for when a thing is so awesome you are at a loss for how to describe it); feeeeeels (for something that gives you multiple feelings); unreal!!!! (for when a thing is totally believable and only mildly amusing); yassssss (because “yes” will no longer do); -est (greatest, prettiest, cutest, funniest) EVER, which now applies to virtually all things; and “I can’t even,” for when something leaves you so emotive that you simply cannot even explain yourself.

There’s also a;lsdkjfa;lsdkgjs; meaning “I’m so excited/angry/speechless that all I can do is literally slam my hands/head/body against the keyboard” (thus producing a series of gibberish that usually involves the letters a, s, d and k).

“I use ‘I can’t even’ whenever I talk about babies or puppies, or sometimes couples, but not like couples our age, but older couples like my parents…”

“‘Literally dying’ has become, like, the new LOL,” she said, referring to the acronym for “laugh out loud,” which, of course, if you know literally anything about Internet speech, means precisely the opposite.


This Is How Men and Women Handle Email Differently

Excerpt from this article:

  •    Women tended to be a tad more verbose: Women had a median length of 30 words and a median response of 24 minutes.
  •    Men sent slightly quicker and shorter replies than women: Men had a median length of 28 words and a median response of 28 minutes.
  •    People replied faster to emails during weekdays and working hours; replies were shorter later in the day, as well as on weekends.
  •    Younger demographics sent quicker: Teens responded within a median of 13 minutes, young adults took 16, and mature adults, aged 51 and over, sometimes took upward of 47 minutes to reply.
  •    Older demographics sent longer replies: Teens had a median reply length of 17 words, young adults had 31, and mature adults had 40.
  • Younger demographics handled email overload better: Older users replied to a smaller fraction of incoming emails, while younger users replied quicker and to a higher fraction.

So What Is Th@ Thing, Anyway?

Illustration by Roman Muradov

Excerpt from this article:

Wherever I have gone for my job — even in far-flung places like Kazakhstan or the United Arab Emirates or rural Bulgaria — I have been able to point to my iPhone, say “charger?” and get a sympathetic nod (and cable)…

The @ symbol, though, is on an island (or, perhaps more appropriately, in a zoo) by itself. The Poles use a word for it that means monkey. The Dutch call it a monkey’s tail. The Czechs call it a rolled-up fish filet. The Greeks call it a duckling.

In Hungarian, it is a worm. In Italian, it is a snail. In Ukrainian, it is a dog. In Taiwanese, it is a mouse. Meanwhile, in the United States, it’s technically known as the “commercial at.”



Excerpt from this article:

Language evolves at break neck speed on the internet; what’s cool one minute is lame by the next. Case in point: “LOL” is dying. A Facebook report claims that LOL is now one of the least popular ways to express laughter on the social network. Why? Probably because of mom.

The waning popularity of LOL correlates with aging demographics. In other words, only old people are using LOL these days, presumably because it was popular in the internet’s early days but is now falling out fashion as emoji becomes the universal language of youths. However, variations of “haha” and “hehe” are still the most popular expressions of laughter.

Related – see also “A Better Laugh for Dating Apps”