What is this creature called “YOLO”?

#YOLO.   #LOL.  #(insert some other colloquialism here).  If you’ve never been on twitter, you might not understand these first few words.  But then again, now that more than 15 percent of Americans use twitter, you probably have some recollection of what YOLO means.

In the instance that you are not familiar with the term YOLO, it is an acronym that stands for, “You only live once.”  The term YOLO emphasizes the belief that, since each person is given only one life with which to live, why not live it up  and party and do reckless things? I understand the appeal of a term such as YOLO.  It is simple, catchy, and pairs up nicely with many dangerous events, such as bungee jumping, or driving on the Autoban.  Unfortunately, YOLO has also seeped its way into everyday speaking conversion.  “Oh, I just asked Bobby out to the dance!  YOLO!”  “Totally didn’t do my math homework last night.  YOLO!”  “I just took a dump.  YOLO!”  The extent to which YOLO is now used in everyday conversation is absolutely ridiculous.  It has replaced LOL as my personal acronym pet peeve.  LOL used to be the popular, incorrectly used acronym, often utilized on forum sites, or sites such as Facebook.  For example, one would often see a funny picture, and underneath it, a comment saying something along the lines of, “OMG THIS TOTALLY MADE ME LOL”.  In reality, this poster was probably blankly staring at their computer screen.  Unlike LOL, YOLO more commonly occurs in conversation, as stated.  And in conversation, the idiocy of the user of the term is even more apparent than online.  To me, the repeated use of YOLO in American conversation exemplifies the coercive force that corporate operations such as Facebook and Twitter have on the American populace.

For instance, whatever happened to Hakuna Matata?  The popular catchphrase from the Disney Movie “The Lion King” (1994) was around more than a decade before YOLO even came into popular use, more than a decade before Twitter even existed.  “Hakuna Matata” carries a message similar to YOLO, stating “It means no worries for the rest of your days.” (Hakuna Matata lyrics).  However, Hakuna Matata never became such a powerful word in social media as YOLO has (mainly because social media was rather underdeveloped in the 1990s).  Or even besides Hakuna Matata, there is a Latin phrase, “Carpe diem”, which translates to “Sieze the day.”      I have much more respect for this phrase compared to YOLO, as it just seems more eloquent and intelligent than YOLO.  It also is much less popular than YOLO, which also means that my ears do not have to bear it constantly every day.  After all, you don’t see millions of teenage girls shouting, “Carpe diem!” in everyday conversation.

So, to finally arrive at my final message, reader, please avoid using the word YOLO when you are talking with other people.  If you can avoid using it in social media, that would be greatly appreciated as well.  If you greatly feel the need to express your freedom and reckless, “Hakuna Matata” and “Carpe diem” are much more appropriate alternatives.


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