OMG! The Hyperbole of Internet-Speak

The text exchange was unspectacular: a friend explaining a video that had been posted by a classmate to his Snapchat feed. Jordana Narin, my 20-year-old research assistant, was half paying attention, sitting in my living room working on a project, texting between breaks.

“Omg literally dying,” she typed back, not missing a beat. She turned back to her computer.

But Jordana wasn’t literally dying. She wasn’t figuratively dying, either. In fact, she didn’t even crack a smile.

“I don’t even know what she’s talking about,” she told me when I asked. “I want to be like, ‘I don’t care.’”

But instead, she typed what to some may seem like the most dramatic response imaginable. Except that it wasn’t.

“It’s almost like ‘dying’ has become a filler for anytime anyone says anything remotely entertaining,” she said. “Like, if what you’re saying won’t legitimately put me to sleep, I respond with, ‘OMG dying.’”

R.I.P. to the understatement. Welcome to death by Internet hyperbole, the latest example of the overly dramatic, forcibly emotive, truncated, simplistic and frequently absurd ways chosen to express emotion in the Internet age (or sometimes feign it).

Read more: NY Times

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