The production of acronyms is getting out of hand.
Acronyms are useful shortcuts. It’s a lot easier saying HIPPA instead of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
But more and more I find myself getting confused. My friend Barbara and I were talking about news, and she used the term “FOIL.” I didn’t understand what she meant (Freedom of Information Law). I had always referred to it as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). What’s the difference between a law and an act other than it makes for a better acronym?
There are acronyms that seem to have their full names contrived to fit in. (Logically, these are called contrived acronyms.) A fictional example is SHIELD (Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division). Should there be a comma after “Intervention”? I digress.
Anyone who thinks CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart) is not a contrived acronym needs to get some sort of counseling.
People are spewing acronyms all over the place and using them without explaining what they are. There are even acronym generators online that will help you out. (Pooly, but they try.)
Certain occupations, like the military and computer coders, seem to use acronyms more than others. Richard Edwards, who says he works in bioinformatics, decided to make things fun and created ORCA (Organisation of Really Contrived Acronyms).
There are places for acronyms and places where they definitely do not belong. Remember your audience, folks! Don’t force them to look things up.
I think I want to HAM (Halt Acronym Misuse).
Congratulations, Canada, on your 150th “birthday” July 1!
We’ll reach 241 here in the United States on July 4. Party time in North America!