I love slang but am less enamored of hyperbole, especially the kind that makes you sound like a thirteen-year-old (unless you’re writing fictional dialogue for young teens, in which instance go for it). In fact, I’m on record when it comes to the use of amazing, the patron saint of hyperbole, which is so overused as to be meaningless. (Here are some substitutes for the truly amazing-addicted.) I’ve also gone on record with how much I despise click-bait headlines.
The Internet has taken all these speech patterns and hit them with a dose of caffeine: the need to express emotion in bite-size, 140-character bits; the fact that we must come up with increasingly creative ways to express tone and emphasis when facial cues are not an option. There’s a performative element, too: We are expressing things with an audience in mind.
At the risk of sounding like an old fart, yes, I agree, even though I am guilty of employing OMG. (And, wait—LOL doesn’t mean LOL anymore?)
I worry, sometimes, how a real death will affect users who think something is so funny, outrageous, or maddening that they say they are dying over it. I worry, too, for the future of literature, but that’s another post entirely.
Is this slang or exaggeration? I think it’s time we fight back, my wordies.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”