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EditorialsUpFront 12/19

UpFront 12/19

Waiting for a train at Waterloo station recently I felt sorry for one of the vendors standing alone at a stall waiting for customers. It was cold and he shifted from foot to foot to try to keep warm. He hadn’t even been supplied with a chair to sit on. The service he was promoting didn’t seem to be particularly attractive either. In fifteen minutes he had one customer who dropped something off and then rushed away with an air of great self-importance. A couple of promotional flags on either side of the man’s stall advertised the name of the business, but it was the letters FORO that stood out. They were explained by the words ‘Fear of Running Out’. The business offered the hire of portable changers for those that may need a constant telephone connection to the internet for business or other important stuff. One imagines it could also be of great assistance to those that suffer from ‘Nomophobia’, a condition brought on by ‘smartphone separation anxiety’. This is an affliction that could, of course, be exacerbated by the possibility of running out of phone battery. To me, FORO was a new abbreviation but I can imagine it has probably been around for a while. Like memes on social media, abbreviations for modern ailments keep cropping up, often followed by authoritative suggestions and research papers on how they could be dealt with. But ailments are just a tiny part of it. The upsurge in the popularity of text speak and abbreviations to express feelings is nothing new, it has been the subject of newspaper and magazine articles for years. In fact there are people who get paid to explain abbreviations so that businesses or institutional social media promoters can reach the right people. The abbreviations have to be current and cool, or at least not too dreadfully old fashioned. Now INE (I’m No Expert) but IMHO (In My Humble Opinion) it seems that this form of communication has already spawned a whole new language, which apart from the need for tuition, might give birth many other offshoots. This year I hope to add abbreviations to Christmas charades. ‘Book, film, play, song or… abbreviation!’ It will be fun to see whether this particular form of screen-based communication can be easily introduced into the RW (Real World). MCTA (Merry Christmas To All).


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