Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Don't Overuse Abbreviations

Abbreviations are nice. They're convenient and they save time. The problem with them is that they become a code that can lock out other people from understanding what you're saying.

Within the tech world, everybody knows what 32GB DDR3 RAM is. In fact, you would be more likely to confuse people by spelling out these abbreviations. And to everybody outside the tech world, I may as well have slammed my hand on the keyboard.

I remember a friend remarking at how odd it was to see MLP:FiM S2E3 and knowing exactly what it was. I can imagine the feeling.

I really am not a fan of using abbreviations. I find that I can write things quickly enough when spelled out, and I rarely have limited space to the point that I need to abbreviate.

I find that I can absorb information far more easily if I read full words and don't have to stop the thought process to decode an abbreviation.

On the subject of the visuals, I find most abbreviations unattractive. Full words are generally beautiful to me. Chopping them up, mixing them around, and presenting them like nothing happened is kind of grotesque. (This description is hauntingly poignant in comparing the process with how America treats food.)

All that said, I do use abbreviations from time to time. Much like the exclamation mark, it should be used sparingly. When the time is right, I make use of that tool.

If you find yourself using abbreviations more often than you use the full word or phrase, ask yourself if it's for your convenience, or if it is due to na legitimate common convention. If it's just you being lazy, slap yourself across the face and remember: DOA.

(If you have ever dug through your old papers and found abbreviations that you have no idea what they mean, take that as a significant lesson.)

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