To be human is to play with words, to make jokes with them and to invent new ones. New words to deal with changing times tend to arise – to the anguish of the gatekeepers of proper usage – from outgroups, such as young people and those on the margins of polite society.
So I am indebted to Marie Le Conte for explaining the intricacies of online writing. She has convinced me that this is a new language tool for a new medium – and one I can never learn. My reasons are personal as well as professional.
I recall rolling my eyes when my mother started using the word ‘hassle’ for a minor inconvenience like queuing at the Post Office, as opposed to what I understood it to mean − police harassment of young men on the street. If I ever use ~ for a raised eyebrow I know I will be ridiculous in the eyes of youth.