This is part one of a series of posts – I am sharing a collection of articles I wrote last year for a fake newspaper entitled The Radish. Consider it my homage to The Onion. First up: a woman kills all emotion online.
Online chatting became a meaningless, emotionless void Sunday after eighteen-year-old Veronica Hardin, better known as kittenmittens87, used LOL in place of a period after every sentence of a 45-minute-long chat session with friend and confidant Becca Feldham.
The result of said conversation is the exacerbation of every ounce of emotion possible to express through the internet. Millions of users across the globe attempted to become angry or hurt by the killing of feelings online, but were unable to do so. Experts are calling the phenomenon “emotional constipation.”
“I don’t know how to describe what’s going on inside me. I used to know what joy was like, when someone would email me a video of a monkey drinking its own urine. I could reply LOL, and that was enough to let them know I was giggling to myself in the comfort of my basement,” said Martin Van Grumsbold, a sad, sad man who still lives with his mother.
“Now, I just stare at the screen, unable to relay to my girlfriend in Russia, who is a model, by the way, that I’m making a very clever pun about Greedo shooting first by using a colon and a capital P.”
Hardin has been using Microsoft’s instant messaging monolith MSN Messenger since its release in 1999, when she was only a child. Using the software, she conversed with friends, and soon picked up on popular internet shorthand; like 🙂 to indicate happiness, 🙁 to indicate discontent, and the ever popular LOL, an abbreviation for Laughing Out Loud.
“When we started chatting online, it was so innocent,” said Feldham.
“Those little things used to mean something.”
The arrangement of symbols to create images representative of feelings in the online world is known as an emoticon, a portmanteau of emotion and icon. But now, the emotion has been squarely left behind, thanks to Hardin’s flagrant overuse of LOL.
“We were just kids, fooling around with the computer when we wanted to get away from doing homework. I had no idea it would come to this,” said Hardin, as she wiped a tear rolling down her cheek.
“I didn’t really laugh out loud at all,” said Hardin. “And now, I’ll never have the chance again.”
Internet experts and grammar Nazis have long predicted the demise of communicating over the internet since online chatting became popular in the mid-nineties with the rise of chat software like ICQ, MSN Messenger and Internet Relay Chat (IRC). Silicon valley communications expert William Reichert couldn’t be happier with the situation.
“The day has finally come where people will realize that the internet is not for such frivolous things, and get back to its one true purpose,” said Reichert. “Which of course, is massively parallel computing to discover life on other planets. Or maybe the perfect amount of cheese for microwave nachos. That’s always been a life goal of mine.”