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Friday, September 22, 2023


Trolling our vernacular

When one is trying to be “cool,” originality is difficult to find. With the option to “share” and “like” ideas, a unique thought is rare. Among this “sharing” comes the spreading of new slang and the creation of memes. All of the ideas were meant to be different and unique, but after being passed and collected between the various types of multimedia, the spark that once stemmed from something special gets warped, then dull and then just flat-out annoying.

David Delgado | The Daily Cougar

David Delgado | The Daily Cougar

Sayings and acronyms such as “swag,” “thirsty,” “YOLO” and “trolling” are good examples of people communicating with laziness. Seeing this list of strange words makes one wonder where they originated and how one can regain their originality. In order to shed proper light on these confusing words, one must look into the dictionary definition as well as the slang version.

“Swag,” short for swagger, is typically known to refer to one’s “appearance, style, or the way he or she presents themselves,” according to A word in which, says, its earliest recorded use was in William Shakespeare’s play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” has in just the last few years been reduced to an annoying meme.

The acronym “YOLO” was made popular by Drake during his song “The Motto,” and stands for “you only live once.” It is usually used as an excuse to act upon stupid, impulsive and sometimes dangerous ideas. It almost seems as if people had forgotten that a similar phrase had already been created called “carpe diem,” which is Latin for “seize the day.”

Trolling is a much older meme — but one that originated on the Internet — used to describe a person who, though unprovoked, is rude or sarcastic to another. The mythical sense of the word “troll” is a frightful, rude creature who dwells in the darkness like caves or under bridges. Strangely enough, the term does not stray too far from the mythical creature. A troll will randomly appear often on a thread or status just for the pure pleasure of causing havoc. Trolls thrive on the Internet because of the promise of anonymity. Therefore, there is no consequence for such rude behavior.

When Cougars were asked which sayings or acronyms they see most often on the Internet or text messaging, there was a tie between “swag” and “YOLO,” with “trolling” pulling up third place.

It does a writer’s heart good to see that even though Cougars were asked to pick one option from each column, some Cougars said they did not use any.

“I think it is silly how popular (the sayings) get when they are actually kind of stupid,” said psychology sophomore Maira Luna. “The only reason I could think that someone would use them is because they’re catchy.”

These odd and overused terms are sweeping the cyber world, rendering individuals of their innovativeness. People cannot seem to find different ways to express their thoughts; the creativity is dwindling. Personally, I would be much more entertained to scroll down the newsfeed of Facebook and see people voicing their emotions in an alternative way. Throw a few colorful adjectives into any status, tweet or post, and it becomes more visually appealing.

Kelly Schafler is a print journalism sophomore and may be reached at [email protected].


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