Posted by: deadmousediaries | May 1, 2011

“I Less-Than-Three U” – The language of love in the new millennium from Mitchell Kyd

   Luckily, my daughter had already explained it to me before he asked. That allowed me to seem incredibly hip when I answered.

    “What does that mean?” my husband queried.   “That ‘I less-than-three u’ ?”

   He had seen it at the end of my text message: I ❤ u.

   It’s a heart, I explained. The ❤ is a heart turned on its side.  It’s like that New York bumper sticker, only sideways. Ahhhh!

    Have you ever heard of  a man named Milton Glaser? Probably not but back in 1977, he was already creating a standard for the language of love in our new millennium. That was the year that the commissioner of New York’s Department of Commerce hired an ad agency to develop a tourist promotion slogan. Glaser was a graphic designer at the time and he expected it to be a six-month campaign;  he did the work pro bono, for goodness sakes! I’m sure he was thinking “Hey! What the hell! It will look good on the resume!”

   There is some speculation that the New York idea was passed along from a southern cousin,”Virginia is for Lovers.” That 1969 campaign included a heart graphic at the end of the logo. Kudos to Glaser for thinking inside the sticker, axing some words and revamping the concept. After all, he was a visual artist, not a copy writer. I think he was a visionary.

   In an era where the real estate required for the alphabet has become a hot commodity, it’s hard to waste four letters to communicate a message that only needs two. We’re now shaping our world views from an eight-second sound bite instead of forming our own opinions after comparing giant news columns spread out on the kitchen table. It’s not surprising that we are now downsizing even our most intimate thoughts to accommodate new standards, the 140-character tweet.

   The good news is that we continue to communicate. The bad news is that the language is changing.  If you’re over the age of 25, you will most likely have a lot of catching up to do. Here’s a test to check how much cramming awaits you. Translate the following electronic tidbit between two star-crossed co-workers who are sitting side-by-side, texting each other under the table in a business meeting:

   CWOT  DDSOS  LONH! GGP.  C-P & CRS. CYM & CM with 411 B4 5  if $$ G2G. C U @ pub. DNBL8. AYCE wings! I ❤ U. MWAH!

   Here’s the exchange in ancient English: (This meeting is a) Complete Waste of Time. Different Day, Same Old Shit. (The boss has) Lights On (but) Nobody (is) Home.  Gotta Go Pee. (I’m) Sleepy and Can’t Remember Shit. Check Your Mail and Call Me with information Before 5:00 if (budget is) Good to Go.  (I will) See You (at the) pub. Do Not Be Late. All You Can Eat wings! I love you. (Sound of kiss).

   Be honest! Are you really smarter than a fifth grader or did you have to find one to translate for you?I plead the fifth –prior to researching this story.

   Remember that warm feeling of confidence that spread over you when you learned to use a three-inch keyboard and talk with your thumbs? Well, pay attention; that’s techno kindergarten!

   Here’s another quiz, the worst kind, with the dreaded matching questions. Check your TQ (technology quotient) by matching the following products with the electronic media services they manage:

_____  Tumblr                    1.  Customer Service Network

_____  Ning                           2.  Social Network

_____  Slacker                      3.  Documents/Slides

_____ Yelp                            4.  Location

_____ Plurk                            5.  Blog Platform

_____ Tangler                       6. Video

_____ Foursquare               7.  Micromedia

_____ BeBo                            8. Niche Networks

_____ Viddler                         9. Music

_____ Scribd                      10. Blogged Communities

   E-mail me if you think you have the answers and I’ll send you one of my favorite YouTube links as your reward. If you recognize all of this without a single Google, gratz! U R @ the head of the class!  Foggy on some of these online tools but took the time to run them through a search engine? Good job; you are at least an adopter. Expecting to see names like Shutterfly , Facebook and Evite on this list? You are still okay but need to expand your horizons. Don’t know and don’t care about any of it? Uh oh. You are in big trouble in this brave new world.

   Visit me again on Wednesday for all the answers and you can at least do a little impressive name-dropping the next time you’re talking to your fifth grader.

   One of the presenters at a business forum I attended last week told us plainly that learning is our work in the new economy. It’s not enough to be aware, we need to know how to integrate and manage what we learn in a way that makes it valuable to others.

   For my part, I’m not an early adopter and it’s been a long time since I studied a new language. I do recognize I will need to speak it (and will probably call on Cherry Garcia to help me as I struggle through it).  I may be a communicator without a company at the moment, but I can see the cryptograms on the wall. If I want to step back into the revolving world, I will have to practice the art of subtraction.  KWIM?

Copyright 2011. Mitchell Kyd. All rights reserved.

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Responses

  1. You have a very strange mind. hah!


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