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E-Splash August 2012 - Executive Director
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Illinois Section AWWA - E-Splash -  August 2012


Executive Director 
Laurie Dougherty

Huh… what did you say?

Have you ever spoken in acronyms like this? "I saw on FB that tomorrow is a TEC meeting with the TAW on THM's for the upcoming DSS. Want to go with me?”

If you have, you are like millions of others today that assume others are understand what you really mean.

Acronyms used to be limited to company names such as UPS, FedEX, Ebay. Today acronyms are also used as "action words” like BRB, HTP, JAM, etc.

Webster's definition of an Acronym is a "a type of word formation process, acronyms and initialisms are viewed as a subtype of blending. Also called "netspeak” or "chatspeak”.

Why do we use acronyms? Do you think the average brain only stores 5.0 terra-bytes, and acronyms are the way that we can fit more information into the same amount of space? Are we saving our voices by speaking fewer syllables?

Are you sure that people clearly understand you when you use an acronym? If someone asked you to do something ASAP , do you interpret that as … As Soon As Possible OR As Slow As Possible?

Texting has increased the number of acronyms exponentially such as BRB, BBF, TTFN, TGIF, etc. We are even starting to verbalize in "textspeak.” I personally have heard people saying the letters outloud, "O” "M” "G”, as if it would have taken more energy to say, Oh My Goodness!

If we take the time to say the words, instead of the acronym, would we be able to more easily communicate? We would certainly be able to more easily explain what we want to convey.

Would it be easier to work together if we establish common terminology that encourages verbal communication without acronyms? Would you be more willing to get involved if you understand what was being asked of you?

I challenge each of us to reverse the trend of using acronyms and start using "the words” again and clearly communicate.

To make it easier for you to navigate the acronym soup, we have created an acronym page on the Illinois Section website at Here we will add acronyms and give you the long version. That way, when someone says to you, "Hey, would you like to join me at the RMSO to talk about how the SRF will effect the PWS, you'll have a place of reference.


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