I was a little late to the computer and internet parties. Sure, I recall learning about this surprisingly un-furry thing called a "mouse" late in grade school, but then there's a gap of about 5 years between that and my next memory of touching a keyboard. What? Oh, high school? Being a terrible typist in general, I hand-wrote papers until the bitter end of it, even though I went to a math and science school, which was heavy on the tech geekery. My grandparents had an old electric typewriter that I fought with; it won. I bribed friends who were good at the QWERTY to type things for me whenever I could. Otherwise, it was paper, pen and bottles of Wite-Out. My first (brief) experience with email involved a primitive DOS form (I think that's what it was called!) with a black screen and a yellow/green blinking cursor. It wasn't exactly a love affair.
I missed the AOL period completely - never IM-ed or "lol"-ed a day in my life. In fact, I didn't engage with email in a meaningful way until the late aughts and resisted Facebook (snarkily, I might add: "I'm in touch with everyone I want to be in touch with and don't want to be found by the others. Meh."). I finally relented in November 2009 and, after eating my words (hello, grade school friends! college roommate! guy I met at a party!), am now a shameless Fb fan.
All of the above is background for how, upon joining the Fb, I was stunned to find how frequently people used "lol" and its kin. I had heard of "lol", understood what it meant, made jokes about it, but... for it to still be in use in 2009 - without a shred of irony? Unthinkable. Depressing as hell. Just WRONG.
This is all background to explain how one in particular, "lmao", really confused the hell out of me. I thought: Is it like "meow"? And if so, why are people making animal noises at each other on Fb? What? Am I supposed to "woof" back?"
Finally, I looked it up and (sigh), yes, lmao at my mistake.