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March 19, 2011, 05:14 PM
A History of LOL:
An Analysis of the 21st century perspective
on the general outline of the popular Internet meme

Zeeshan Mahmud

March 18, 2011


We examine the historical evolutionary inroads of the use and abuses of the popular internet
meme, LOL, in general parlance of the internet community.

1.1 Introduction

LOL (pronounced 'el-oh-el' or par abus de language 'lawl') is an internet slang or meme which means "laugh out loud" or "laughing out loud".

1.2 History and Origins

According to author gmackematix acronyms such as LOL can be traced back to Victorian times:
Chatroom abbreviations like "LOL" and emoticons were largely invented by acronym-loving computer geeks on pre-Internet bulletin boards. It would be well nigh impossible to trace back who invented which.
Simple rebuses like "cu 2nite" were thought about in Victorian wordplay, possibly earlier and their increased use in computer chat and texting was fairly inevitable. [1 (http://www.funtrivia.com/askft/Question52844.html)]
However, historically, the earliest record of first utterance of the word can be traced to International FidoNet Association Newsletter, Vol. 6, Number 19 in Usenet on 8th May 1989. In a subsection called MO_ICONS_PLEASE, the author L.Edel, states:
For some reason, the ICONS in a past Fido Newsletter, were not
the icons I have seen in use the past several years!!! Where
did the nose come from? Originally,, the set goes as follows,
excluding some that can only be used on IBM, ATARI, COMMODORE,

:) - smile/happy :( - frown/sad
:D - big smile or laugh :c - pout
:> - mischievious smile :'( - cry
;) - wink ;> - sly wink
:* - kiss [] - hug
:O - shout/yawn O:) - angel/innocent
]:> - devil/guilty :I - content
:# - grimace/frustrated :/ - disfavor/baffled
:P - sticking out tongue :X - not talking
:d - tastes good :9 8) - wide-eyed surprise
B) - glasses [% - mug
c% - coffee cup U - glass
u - shot glass Y - wine/cocktail glass
---<--<-@ long-stemmed rose
----===== drink sliding down bar

Also worth considering are the following:

OLM - On Line Message OTW - On The Way
OIC - Oh I See H - HUH???
BTW - By The Way LOL - Laughing Out Loud
ROTF - Rolling On The Floor RAO - Rolling All Over
LMTO - Laughing My Tush Off BRB - Be Right Back
AFK - Away From Keys BBL - Be Back Later
BAK - Back At Keys WLCM - Welcome
BCNU - Be Seeing You L8R - Later
ODM - On De Move OTB - Off To Bed
LTNT - Long Time No Type TTFN - Ta Ta For Now
RE - Again (Greetings, as in "re-hi")
LTNS - Long Time No See
M/F - Male or Female (also known as 'MORFING', as in
"Oh no! I've been morfed!!")

I hope this make for more "colorful communicating". Just
remember the quote from Alex Bell (no relationship to the famous
Bell) "Anything that can be said in a few words, isn't worth
saying and should be forgotten". Don't blame me I didn't say
it. [2 (http://www.textfiles.com/fidonet-on-the-internet/878889/fido0619.txt)]
According to Wikipedia, the most widely read internet resource in the internet:In 1975, Raphael Finkel of Stanford University compiled a collection of hacker slang, the Jargon File, from technical cultures, such as the MIT AI Lab, the Stanford AI Lab (SAIL) and others, of the old ARPANET AI/LISP/PDP-10 communities. Two items on this list in current use as Internet slang are "flame" and "loser". By 1990, the Jargon File had been enriched with examples of shorthand used in talk mode between two terminals, (for example, "BTW", "FYI", and "THX") as well as some slang expressions in use on Usenet and new commercial networks like CompuServe (for example, "LOL", "ROTF", and "AFK".) [3 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_slang#cite_note-0)]
1.3 Grammatical Usage

Although primarily used as a common form of interjection it can be used as an adjective, such as lol factor or do a lol search and you shall see whose thread gets more hits... and many times as verb.eg. I lol-ed my axx off that loss. or,
eg. I am lolling at the fact that there are no TVs in the Yanomami tribe.
Convention dictates that it should be followed by at-the-rate of symbol to reply to a funny quote.eg. Lol @ the idiot who rebuked us.
and lmao@ of the dweebs...watevva dude...go to bed alradedy..
1.4 Variations on the theme
According to Wikipedia, the most widely read reliable internet source in the internet, the following
variants exist:

lolz: Occasionally used in place of LOL.
lulz: Often used to denote laughter at someone who is the victim of a prank, or a reason for performing an action. Can be used as a noun — e.g. "do it for the lulz." This variation is often used on the Encyclopedia Dramatica wiki and 4chan image boards. According to a New York Times article about Internet trolling, "lulz means the joy of disrupting another's emotional equilibrium."[26]
lolwut: lol + wut, used to indicate bemused laughter, or confusion.
Lawl or Lal: Pseudo-pronunciation of LOL. Saying "lawl" is sometimes meant in mockery of those who use the term LOL, and usually not meant as serious usage.
LOLOLOLOL: For added emphasis, LOL can be appended with any number of additional iterations of "OL". In cases such as these, the abbreviation is not to be read literally (i.e., "Laughing out loud out loud out loud out loud"), but is meant to suggest several "LOL"s in a row.
LEL: A variant sometimes construed as an acronym for "Laughing Extremely Loud" or "Laughing Even Louder."
laf (pronounced like "laugh") [4 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LOL)]

The words lmao (pronounced el-mau) or roflmao (rofol-mau) are the most common form of widely used variants. Respectively they stand for laughing my *** off or rolling on the floor laughing my *** off.

1.5 Visual representation of the metaphor with LOL-cat

1.5.1 History
During the 1870s, the Brighton photographer Harry Pointer (1822-1889) became well known for a series of carte-de-visite photographs which featured his pet cats. Pointer began by taking conventional photographs of cats resting, drinking milk or sleeping in a basket, but from around 1870 he specialised in photographing cats in a variety of poses, placing his cats in settings that would create a humorous or appealing picture.Pointer often arranged his cats in unusual poses that mimicked human activities - a cat riding a tricycle, cats roller-skating and even a cat taking a photograph with a camera. Harry Pointer soon realised that even a relatively straight-forward cat photograph could be turned into an amusing
or appealing image by adding a written caption. Pointer increased the commercial potential of his cat pictures by adding a written greeting such as "A Happy New Year" or "Very many happy returns of the day". Purchasers sent the small cartes-de-visite as tiny greetings cards, thereby publicizing Pointer's distinctive cat photographs. By 1872, Harry Pointer had created over one hundred different captioned images of cats. Harry Pointer's series of cat photographs were collectively known as "The Brighton Cats". The Photographic News reported that, by 1884, Pointer had published about two hundred pictures in "The Brighton Cats" series. [5 (http://www.photohistory-sussex.co.uk/BTNPointerCats.htm)]

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1a/Cat_crying_%28Lolcat%29.jpg/200px-Cat_crying_%28Lolcat%29.jpg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cat_crying_%28Lolcat%29.jpg)

Figure 1.5.1
1.5.2 FormatLolcat is a composite of two words, "lol" and "cat". "Lol" stands for "Laugh out Loud" or "Laughing out Loud", hence lolcats are intended to be funny and to include jokes.The lolcats images usually consist of a photo of a cat with a large caption characteristically set in a sans serif font such as Impact or Arial Black. The image is, on occasion, digitally edited for effect. The caption generally acts as a speech balloon encompassing a comment from the cat, or as a description of the depicted scene. The caption is intentionally written with deviations from standard English spelling and syntax,featuring "strangely-conjugated verbs, but a tendency to converge to a new set of rules in spelling and grammar."The text parodies the grammar-poor patois stereotypically attributed to Internet slang. Frequently, lolcat captions take the form of phrasal templates. Some phrases have a known source, usually a well-known Internet meme, such as All your base are belong to us or Do not want, while others don't. There are parallels between the language used in lolcats and baby talk, which some owners of cats often use when talking to them.

Common themes include jokes of the form "Im in ur noun, verb-ing ur related noun."Many lolcat images capture cats performing characteristically human actions or appearing to use modern technology, such as computers.

There are several well-known lolcat images and single-word captions that have spawned many variations and imitations, including "Ceiling Cat" (see below). Others include Fail (a cat with a slice of processed cheese on its face) and "I Can Has Cheezburger" (a portrait of a blue British Shorthair). [6 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lolcat)]
1.6 LOL in Popular Culture

Although LOL has seeped to popular parlance from written to spoken and in various forms of media, the first usage in the advertisement can be seen in a bus ad [7 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmw/1986086046/)]:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2035/1986086046_717ef4b86d.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmw/1986086046/)

Fig. 1.6.1

1.7 Conclusion

Calamities will come and go but what will endure is humanities everlasting usage of the word of LOL or 'lol' in digital footprints in the cyberspace. During times of trials and tribulations and dark ages we can solemnly submit to its power. As Leslie Winkle said in Big Bang Theory (2007):

Leslie Winkle: So, I heard your relationship with Penny crashed to the ground like blue ice falling out of an airplane lavatory.
Leonard Hofstadter: Where did you hear that?
Leslie Winkle: Actually I read it: Wolowitz texted me.
Leonard Hofstadter: [Reading her phone]... like blue ice falling out of an airplane lavatory. Yep!
Leslie Winkle: I thought it was pretty a good one. I gave him an "LOL."


March 19, 2011, 06:58 PM
You gotta be kidding me, LOL.
<br />Posted via BC Mobile Edition (1)

March 20, 2011, 04:16 AM
Zeeshan you are mind blowing. Where do you get all the time in the world brother?

March 20, 2011, 03:42 PM
Omg....wtf....brb !

March 20, 2011, 03:53 PM
Amar matha gurteche
<br />Posted via BC Mobile Edition (Android)

March 21, 2011, 09:09 AM
Wow man, was this like a uni assignment or smthg? Can't believe you spent so much time on this if it wasn't , lol!
<br />Posted via BC Mobile Edition (iPhone)

March 21, 2011, 07:20 PM
LMAO [<-- Better than LOL ;)] Surely worth wasting my 10 minutes reading XD

March 21, 2011, 07:52 PM
Zeeshan bhai will do anything to impress you. and he has :clap:

March 21, 2011, 08:13 PM
Too bad this won't be on the FP. This website is racist!!

March 21, 2011, 08:50 PM
Zeeshan bhai will do anything to impress you. and he has :clap:

Who says it was meant to impress you? It was meant to impress upon you.

March 22, 2011, 12:50 AM
WTG Zee !!

March 22, 2011, 08:53 AM
ai poladar ki kam kaj nai!

March 23, 2011, 07:14 AM
ST Zee. WTG!
:applause: Now I've got a plan for Zee...... I would PM you. :)

March 25, 2011, 07:47 PM
LOL, OMG, FYI Added to Online Oxford English Dictionary


[My job here is done. Ty]

bujhee kom
March 25, 2011, 11:09 PM
Dada, tumi jaa dekhaley...ohh pure Merhava Merheva Dilroova Dilscoopa!

March 26, 2011, 10:23 AM
Well done zee just saw that news.
<br />Posted via BC Mobile Edition (iPhone)

March 26, 2011, 12:13 PM
you made it Zeeshan bhai ! bravo !!