Babbling the 60 Blog

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David Ogilvy:  Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally.  They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.

TLDR is an acronym for Too Long, Didn’t Read. It’s mainly seen on the web, either at the end or beginning of a long post or in the comments section. It’s quite a common texting abbreviation.  I’ve seen it before, but never bothered to look it up.  Have we become so lazy?

If you find TLDR in a post, the point is to provide a summary of the lengthy text so that someone can skip to the TLDR section and get a quick overview of what the story talks about without having to read the whole thing.  It’s like today’s Cliff’s Notes.

Comments that include TLDR usually indicate that the text was too long and they didn’t want to read it.  Or it could be the commenter’s summary of the content.  It might be used to tell the poster and other commenters that the comment might not be reflective of the post since it wasn’t read in full, or it might be a little joke to show that this post is way too long and nobody has time to read all of it.

When TLDR is in the post, it’s a helpful subject line summary.  The poster will offer a one- or two-sentence summary of the many paragraphs to follow or precede the post.  TLDR is most commonly seen in very opinionated discussion forums, where the topics lend themselves to long rants.  Controversial topics easily lure people to write hundreds of words of heated opinion.  However, TLDR posts can really be anywhere, including computer help forums and even online stories.

When TLDR is used in the comment section of a post, comment might not be quite an insult but rather a suggestion that the user above should consider abbreviating their writing. This might be used when the previous poster submitted more than a couple of paragraphs in the conversation.

Capitalization is a non-concern when using text message abbreviations and chat jargon.  You are welcome use uppercase TLDR or all lowercase tldr, and the meaning is identical. We all know to avoid typing entire sentences in uppercase because that usually indicates shouting.

Proper punctuation is similarly a non-concern with most text message abbreviations.  For example, the abbreviation for ‘Too Long, Didn’t Read’ can be abbreviated as TL;DR or as TLDR.  Both are acceptable formats, with or without punctuation.

Never use periods (dots) between your jargon letters. It would defeat the purpose of speeding up thumb typing. For example, ROFL would never be spelled R.O.F.L. and TTYL would never be spelled T.T.Y.L.

Knowing when to use jargon in your messaging is about knowing who your audience is, knowing if the context is informal or professional, and then using good judgment. If you know the people well, and it is a personal and informal communication, then absolutely use abbreviation jargon. On the flip side, if you are just starting a friendship or professional relationship with the other person, it’s best to avoid abbreviations until you have developed a relationship rapport.  If the messaging is in a professional context with someone at work, or with a customer or vendor outside your company, then avoid abbreviations altogether.

Using full word spellings shows professionalism and courtesy. It is much easier to err on the side of being too professional and then relax your communications over time than being unprofessional from the start.