Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Reruns: Reconsidering the Names of Things

(original post-date: May 19, 2010)

When I conduct funder research for my nonprofit clients, I use a software that amuses me with its typos. Regarding those typos, I don’t necessarily fault the folks behind the software. It is their job, after all, to enter absolutely every grant over $4,000 for which they have a foundation profile (and they have thousands of profiles). That kind of work has got to make a person a bit cross-eyed.

So: when I see that a grant went to the “Skrewball Cultural Center,” I don’t conclude that the data entry specialist was trying to make a joke. Rather, she or he is probably super tired. (I also know, because the grantee is here in L.A., that the listing should say Skirball Cultural Center.)

Likewise, when I see that the purpose of a grant was for developing “literracy cumfculum,” I don’t immediately assume that the person entering that information is illiterate (or even illiterrate.)

The other day, I conducted a new search on the software in question, and when I perused the results, I smiled for a reason having nothing to do with typos. This time, I smiled because the name of a grantee leapt out at me. The grantee is called the OMG Center for Collaborative Learning.

I’m sure I could do some googling and learn what the OMG stands for, but… we all know what it stands for, right? OMG! The Oh My God Center for Collaborative Learning got a grant!

I’m also sure I could do some googling and discover whether the OMG Center has undergone a name change in the past couple of years. (The grant listed in the search was issued in 2001.) God knows, if it were my nonprofit organization, I’d come up with something a little less meaningful to cyber-communicators.

On the other hand, this discovery gave me an idea. Why not create some nonprofit organizations with names that are not only appropriate to the nonprofits’ missions but also are significant to texters and others? I have a few suggestions:

* The IMO Center for First Amendment Freedoms
* The FWIW Interjection Partnership (and its pet project, the BTW Summer Institute)
* The BFF Pen Pal Project (okay, that one is totally ironic)
* The LOL Program on the Study of Humor
* The B/C Corporation for Research in Reasoning
* The NNTO Brevity Collaborative

and, drum roll, please…

* The WTF Coalition on Environmental Issues in the Gulf Coast

So, that’s what I got, people. Your suggestions are welcome.


P.S. It’s highly unlikely that you know less than I do about text-speak, but if you’re stumped by the list above, here’s the legend:

IMO = In My Opinion
FWIW = For What It’s Worth
BTW = By The Way
BFF = Best Friends Forever
LOL = Laugh Out Loud
B/C = Because
NNTO = No Need To Open (used on the subject line of emails when the subject line says it all)
WTF = What The F&%k (most often followed by an exclamation point or question mark)
TTFN = Ta Ta For Now


Sioux said...

Thanks for the translation. Since I do not text, there were a few I was clueless about.

This was funny, but I think you've hit upon a lucrative idea---renaming companies/nonprofit groups with more user-"friendly"/appropriate names.

Think about it. (Wink.)

Anonymous said...

Ha! I see this as a SNL skit. If I had your job I would get very distracted Googling these things.