I am reading The Washington Post article:
13, right now
This is what it's like to grow up in the age of likes, lols and longing
Story by Jessica Contrera
Photos by Victoria Milko
She slides into the car, and even before she buckles her seat belt, her phone is alight in her hands. A 13-year-old girl after a day of eighth grade...
And once again I ask myself whether Social Media brings us closer together, farther apart, or is neutral as to immediacy.
As I think it, I create the word "Immedia" which seems in my brain to stand for immediate and intimate activity between persons; of course, it brings to mind Heidegger's being-in-the-world versus what I had called having-in-the world.
In this article, the young girl has vastly more connection with large numbers of people than individuals did in the pre-iPhone days and the pre-Internet days. And rather than asking about the effect of such a large amount of communications, I only ask if these communications - even considered singly one at a time - may have the same effect of face-to-face interaction.
It seems to me the answer in in the subtitle; it is the acronym "lol".
Electronic Communication lacks gesture, touch, deep affect: for example, we usually cannot see the face of those to whom we speak. But even with Skype and camera, the experience of facial recognition is flat and bland.
LOL was devised due to the ambiguity of internet chat and emails, for language alone often leaves it unclear whether one is happy, mad, sarcastic, solicitous, etc. Those emotions are more easily conveyed in person.
So LOL was devised in order to let the recipient know the sender was happy and laughing... at least the sender wanted the recipient to believes so.
So new modular expressions come into being to attempt to fill the voids left by electronic communication, thereby demonstrating that there are many such voids in the first place, and these empty spaces are like interstellar dust between us and distant galaxies, obscuring the far - and near - brilliance.