Do you LOL?

When I was first chatting on the internet in my late teens – the late 90s – I remember when internet speak and acronyms burst onto the scene. If I don’t already feel old saying that, I surely will as the years pass.

I have to admit, I got caught up in it all in the beginning and I was ‘loling’ away. Even then, however, I noticed that there were those who would write “heehee” or “heh;” some dudes even did “HAAAAA.” For a little while I would use ROFL or LMAO or even the extreme LMGDMFAO, which is super nerdy, but it didn’t take long before I found a different system that totally worked for me and has until this day.

What I use is the Haha System. I’ve found haha and variations thereof works to signify actual laughter or appreciation of humor.

“Ha” is both a nod to something being said in jest but it also can be used in short sarcastic bursts, as well.

Haha is your go-to response. You can add this before or after any sentence as a way of saying, “Yeah totally.” Or, “I’m laughing at what I just said.” And lastly, “This was intended as a joke.” This is pretty crucial, if I do say so myself, since anything and everything can be misinterpreted in online chat or texting.

P's awesome laugh

A great example of genuine laughter.

Hahaha denotes real laughs coming now. A hahaha with an exclamation point is one step beyond that.

If I type, “HAHAHAHA,” this is the equivalent of LMAO. And anything beyond that – more hahas, exclamation points, bold, etc, I’m going crazy with laughter.

I dunno, it just works!

With the Lol System, it’s hard to tell – in my opinion – if a person actually thinks what you’re saying is funny, but particularly if a person overuses it. I suppose the overuse should tell you. If every time you say something and a person has no response or doesn’t know what to say and responds with “lol,” chances are it’s not actually funny. And this goes for, “haha,” as well!

Aside: I will refrain from going on too much of a tangent on notorious Conversation Killers but couldn’t help but put this in. Just know that if your only response to a person’s descriptive paragraph is, “Oh,” “I see,” or “I hear ya,” there’s hardly a good way to come back from that. If people say that to me in an online conversation, I flat out stop talking. Message received.

I’ve actually written back to people and said, “But are you laughing outloud?” Someone I know used to make fun of “lol” by pronouncing it like the word loll. So he’d exclaim, “Loll!!” to demonstrate how ridiculous he found this expression. I always had to laugh.

I think one tick in the plus column for the Lol System is that it is universally recognized. Everyone knows what you mean. Moreover, it’s more succinct. A LMAO doesn’t take up as much time or space as “HAHAHAHAHA.” Usually that would appeal to me, as I am a practical woman, but for whatever reason, I don’t use it. But I will use acronyms like FTW. I’m a big fan but I think it’s because I simply like the phrase, “for the win.” Anyway, this whole online laugh thing is totally a matter of preference. I’d love to hear from those of you who are devotees of the Lol System. (Paging Scott…)

I thought of one more reason I prefer the Haha System over the Lol System. I think for me, the alliteration with the Haha System says to the other person that I really do think something is funny, over using an acronym like ROFL. Because no one is actually rolling on the floor laughing.

Don’t forget about the people who refuse to use either system and have come up with their own way of doing things. I’d be fascinated to hear from someone who does that.

As always, thoughts/comments/feedback are welcome! Happy Wednesday, haha. (See what I did there?)


  1. I have to be self-indulgent and say I love that this came from our conversation yesterday. With so much instant written communication, all of this is so important to set the tone. Perfect example: you know me VERY WELL and there are still times that you’re not sure how I mean something when I say it. As I know you’re a “hahahahaha” girl, you know I’m a “lol” guy. I use it to soften the tone to make sure someone knows i’m saying it in jest or laughing or amused. There’s a level. A little “lol” just sets the tone, while I’m not really laughing out loud. I rarely “Lol” but that’s a step up and I may very well let out a bit of a chuckle or short “Ha!” But an “LOL” (with or without exclamation point) and the rare “LMAO/LMFAO” is reserved for something that I find very funny or actually am really laughing out loud. I do find myself, sometimes, alone laughing out loud at something someone types; because I can hear it, see it, imagine it…whatever. You get the idea 🙂 Someone recently told me that “lol” is used way too often and that a simple “;)” or “:)” can suffice. I, of course, disagree, because I use those too! “lol”

  2. Yeah, I should stop while I’m ahead. If I get into emoticons, I’m just nitpicking to death.

    Considering you’re the only person who has responded, be it here or on Facebook, even, I take it this may touched a sore spot with people. I was really trying to see both sides of using either ‘system.’

    • I don’t think it touched a sore spot as much as I think that a lot of people don’t know how to put forth their personality online (and/or through writing). So, they probably don’t think about these things as much and just clack away at the keyboard, at best.

  3. Lunchbox says:

    I tend to agree with you Zoe, though I still at random points use the LOL. I remember when AIM first came out (because it was either AIM or Compuserve on 56.6 Kbs modem). I bought into the whole LOL, ROFL, ROFLMAO, etc…, but after reading your post I though about it and now usually use the double “Ha”. The even funnier part is that if I write LOL or Ha Ha, 99.9% of the time I actually am laughing out loud, which gets me some funny looks at work sometimes. 🙂

    • I know, people don’t expect you to actually laugh when you put that now! Interwebs etiquette is so strange. I wrote about this because I’m really fascinated with the whole process. Thanks for commenting!

  4. Great post from a simple subject. Good work!

  5. I’m totally with you, Zoe! True laughter ought not be cheapened by mere abbreviations and symbols. That would be like all of life having subtitles; the music and laughter just isn’t the same no matter what language the last drop of the video player forced you into.

  6. Hi there 🙂

    The smile was added in deference to your great post, normally I would reserve one or two of them for the end of my note/missal/novel/letter/post/line/comment. But I did smile at least once as I read your musings.

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed with one of your other posts. It led me here, and I would like to thank you for sharing these thoughts. Very creative!

    Occasionally use lol, although I seldom do – at least not at the time of the post. But there are occasions when I LOL for real, and for me there is nothing that more effectively describes it than LOL followed by hahahahaha and occasionally other graphis as well. Turns out I have a draft sitting somewhere on laughter that I have just been reminded to turn into a post sometime soon. Thanks for the inspiration 😀

    OK, enough serious talk about the laughter. Time to go, live and laugh some more. Thank you again. Have a wonderful day!

    Keep on blogging 8)

    • So sweet of you! Thank you for the congrats and for explicating how you like to ‘laugh online.’ I like to tell my lolers when I’m chatting with them that I literally just laughed out loud. Then it’s kind of an implied LOL. Haha! I will definitely keep on blogging, I really do love it! I hope your post on laughter turns out beautifully.

  7. I use the ‘haha’ system too…although I do say ‘lol’ when i am either talking to my teenage niece (which i guess makes me sound like a guidance counselor who’s trying too hard) or when i say something stupid and don’t know what to say after it…I’ll add ‘lol’ kinda like a tough crowd comment i guess…

    • Exactly! The small ‘lol’ seems like a good filler. I guess ‘haha’ can be, too, though I try not to overuse it. Your analogies crack me up! If anything, you are trying to relate to someone and get down on her level and there is nothing wrong with that 🙂

  8. princessyvaine says:

    Another “conversation killer” is a smiley face. Just a simple 🙂 WTF can you say to that? NOTHING! Haha! I also don’t use lol, It has gotten pretty old!

  9. I love how you have actually categorized this into a set of two systems. I’ll play the game now! I use a hybrid LOL and HAHA system. My go to response is “lol” which means either 1) yea/ I agree/ ha or 2)that was mildly funny. The next step up is the “hahaha” which is a giggle to moderate laugh. Then there is the full scale “LOL” being a guffaw response which mushroom-clouds (yes, I did just verb that) into “HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!” meaning I am crying in my chair and/or on the floor.

    I can’t believe I just categorized all that, lol.

    • I love it! It’s kind of interesting to self-analyze our online laugh systems – at least, I think so. Thanks for sharing yours! Great stuff.

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