See here for a perspicuously articulated inquiry into the efficacy of one of our most oft-used signifiers.

Here’s the thing about ‘lol’: What in the hell does that even mean? That I’m laughing out loud? Yeah, that really comes across when I’m reading it. “Hmph,” I think to myself, sounding out the words of your email, “my friend or co-worker wrote ‘lol’—he or she must be laughing really, REALLY hard right now. The intensity of this laughter is just LEAPING off the page. I get it! I really get it!! ‘Lol,’ man—‘lol’ forever!”

Casey Dayan is a Rumpus intern and musician. He is finishing up his undergraduate studies in literature and anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz where he is working on a memoir and trying to one-up Jeff Buckley. Find his twitter here, @caseydayan. Find his band, “Moo,” here. More from this author →