Laughter On The Internet: Some Practical Definitions

People are always hanging out on the Internet, interacting with other humans, throwing down some laughs. But what does it all mean? In this article we will take a look at some key phrases social Internet people use when playing the web-based version of the game ‘joking around’, as well as some practical definitions of those phrases.

Hahahahhaha

I am actually laughing out loud. GREAT JOB AT THE JOKES.

Hahaha

(A) I am laughing out loud or recognize in a strong way that what just happened was humorous to me. 

(B) I am actually experiencing more of a lesser ‘haha’ or ‘lol’ reaction [see below] but am responding to it in a more intense way to enliven the conversation and build a stronger rapport with you.

Haha

I recognize the humor but am not necessarily laughing aloud… maybe in my head.

lol

(A) used in place of ‘haha’ as an ironic callback to the Internet yesteryear to simultaneously say that I recognize the humor but no physical or mental laughter is necessarily present and that I ‘get’ things on a level that we could bond over if you are as perceptive as I am.

(B) used as a buffer by less self-aware speakers to take the load off of a potentially blunt statement (for example, ‘I don’t know why you don’t talk to me anymore lol’.)

(C) used by our parents who may be experiencing any of the above mentioned degrees of laughter responses, sometimes fashioned in all caps, ‘LOL’.

Ha

(A) I recognize the attempt at humor, but I don’t find that to be funny, personally.

(B) used as a buffer by more self-aware speakers to take the load off of a potentially blunt statement in a more mature/genuine way (for example, ‘I know you hate that I continuously perform that specific action… well I want to let you know that I despise that certain aspect of my behavioral repertoire as well, ha’)

Heh

I recognize a poor attempt at humor and:

(A) I am a teenager/young adult working on establishing a ‘disaffected’ identity.

(B) I am feeling chilled with a sense of embarrassment for you.

(C) the joke makes me feel uncomfortable, or I’m offended to some degree by it. Your jokes objectively contain no artistic value, and as punishment I want you to engage in relentless inward-directed depressive thought patterns that will negatively impact your self-concept until you change your sense of humor completely. TC mark

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