Before we all left to celebrate our spring break last week, I was in class when I got a text from a good friend of mine. She was responding to a joke I made, which was an array of “haha’s” in all caps and an “LOL” at the end.
Despite the obvious reason for her laughter being that I’m downright hilarious, I started wondering about the context of laughter with texting and online chatting.
I began by taking note of the next time I found something really funny in a text. Then, as I read a knee-slapper a few hours later, I deliberated just how many ha’s were appropriate to respond to the text.
I continued doing this for a few days and noticed I am a rather expressive texter, and so are many of my friends. I think the “lol” and entire acronym game is long past expired, and I gave it up years ago in favor of being more honest. If you ever text me, I want you to know how funny I think you are, and I will measure that in haha’s.
But then I realized something interesting: Much of the time, when I’d start a reply text with “haha” and continue with the conversation, I wasn’t actually laughing. So, with that observation, I developed a rough scale to gauge just how funny a text really is.
If you get a text with two “ha’s”, the person you’re texting is most likely doing a form of textual throat-clearing. Even worse, a single “ha” is just sad. Why bother at that point? But, don’t fret, because a text with three or more “ha’s” means you’ve done a good job. Pat yourself on the shoulder. You’re funny.
However, my analysis might be limited in its perspective. Samantha Alexander, junior political science major, said she does at least chuckle when she uses phrases like “haha” or “lol.”
“I used to write ‘lqtm’ [laughing quietly to myself], but I got kind of bored with that, because not everyone knew what it was,” Alexander said.
Let’s be honest, of all the acronyms, “lqtm” is the cleverest, and certainly the most accurate. Thanks for that one, Demetri Martin.
When it comes to me being an expressive texter, I suppose it’s safe to say that’s not a shared trait. Alexander said she doesn’t enjoy the aggressiveness of caps locked “ha’s.”
“I don’t use all caps often,” Alexander said. “I’ve gotten that and if I’ve heard them actually laugh in person before, it’s as if they’re yelling their laughter at me.”
Well, that does make sense. But still, I use caps lock for emphasis or yelling through my phone. I can’t help but enjoy the articulacy texting has to offer. If you really crack me up, I will throw in at least four “ha’s,” caps locked and all.
If you didn’t already, hopefully now you understand the importance of expressing yourself in text messages. From now on, take a closer look at just how many “ha’s” are worthy for your texts.