I was having one of those inane debates with myself the other day about the use of cc and bcc in messages on email. Why, I thought, do we still persist in using cc (carbon copy) when we are copying a message to someone else, when so many people around today have never even seen a sheet of carbon paper let alone used one. And of course the same goes for bcc (blind carbon copy). Why don't the Microsofts and Googles of this world change message formats to "ec", for email copy or perhaps being really innovative use "copy" or "copied" on its own? It's only two more letters.
While accepting a degree of pedantry in my thinking, (I know, get a life!) but to try and make sure I wasn't being totally antediluvian, I did ask a member of the next generation down for a view on the meaning to him of "cc" in an email - to which the reply came back "What's email? Everyone's on FB and WhatsApp!" Touché. And as is the case, even those as tools of messaging seem to be evolving. But then for good measure he threw in other anomalies like candle power to denote the strength of a torch beam, knots for the speed of a ship, and horse power in cars.
But it was too late. Clearly I was obsessed about initials.
Let's face it, the use of initials to create acronyms (An acronym is an abbreviation formed from the initial components in a phrase or a word) as a form of shorthand, is not new. Those of us belonging to that older generation known as baby boomers grew up with things like PLUTO no, not the planet, but which were initials for the "pipeline under the ocean" - a World War II pipeline, and SWALK and BURMA written on the back of letters, which I presume are no longer in use as we don't send any letters now, but the first means Sealed With A Loving Kiss. For others particularly like SNAFU, you will have to look up yourself. I try and avoid any profanity here! And they were in use much further back than that too - think of SPQR (Senatus Populusque Romanus), that catchy little acronym that identified the Roman Empire.
[Just as an aside, in a rather dismaying discovery I have just realised I am two months short of being considered in the baby boomer camp! Too old, even, for that. And in trying to find out exactly which category of dinosaur is was being labeled, some market research carried out by one of my sons elicited a great response from a young girl who was asked recently how she referred to really old people, to which she replied "Mum and Dad"! Ouch!]
But I digress. Back to the initials ... and before some pedant picks me up on the difference between acronyms and initials; I know! Acronyms are, as described above whereas initials are usually just abbreviations. But why spoil my fun?
Where do we go now? We are bombarded on the social networking sites with the latest initials, and the immediacy of the world in which we live is creating an informal and irritating manner of business communication. Some of the "newspeak" is understood easily even if you aren't sure, but some, rather like its creators I suspect, is somewhat ambiguous. I mean how was British Prime Minister Cameron supposed to know that "lol" meant laugh out loud instead of lots of love when he sent messages to former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks? Although having said that I see "lol" has now also acquired the second meaning. But BTW, BBL, WFM and WTF are all finding their way into common usage - well maybe not the latter!
Soon will we be receiving letters from the Banks which will be short and uninformative? (Oh, they are already? Sorry!)
When I started this blog I thought perhaps we were doomed to a life of initial acronyms. Now I am certain. Especially given the one I came accros the other day that read: SSEWBA (Someday Soon Everything Will Be Acronyms)!