Hahaha vs. Hehehe

This is a fun primer from Sarah Larson at The New Yorker on the difference between using “hahaha” and “hehehe” in your texts (or other online communication). Many people have their own interpretations. What’s yours?

The feel-good standard in chat laughter is the simple, classic “haha”: a respectful laugh. “Haha” means you’re genuinely amused, and that maybe you laughed a little in real life. (The singsong Nelson Muntz-style “ha ha,” of course, is completely different—we don’t do this to our friends. There’s also the sarcastic “ha ha,” a British colleague reminded me: he’s used to reading “ha ha” as “Oh, ha ha,” as in, Aren’t you a wag. “But I’m learning to read it as good,” he said. Poor guy.) “Hahaha” means that you’re really amused: now you’re cooking. More than three “ha”s are where joy takes flight. When you’re doing this, you’re laughing at your desk and your co-workers can hear you, or you’re texting with both hands, clacking and laughing away. Somebody has been naughty and fun: a scandalous remark, a zinger, a gut laugh, the high-grade stuff. If things get totally bananas, you might throw a few “j”s in there, because you’re too incapacitated by joy to type properly.

I largely agree with this assessment:

My savvy friend whose use of “hehe” provoked all these questions said that “hehe” is one of his favorite words. He pronounces it “heh heh,” to indicate mild amusement “without having to resort to emoticons, LOLs, or ROTFLs.” He said that “haha” indicates “more serious amusement,” and adds extra “ha”s for “more serious mirth.” He wrote, “There is no such thing as “hehehe” in my vocab, though.” Noted.

I use “haha,” “hahaha,” “hehe,” and “heh.” To me, “hehe” is something that is funny but isn’t something at which I didn’t laugh out loud. However, “haha” and “hahaha” is something that brought a smile or laughter out of me.

A notable omission in the article? Those who write “ahaha” and its many variations.

On the Perils of Absorbed Device Users

A truly frightening story out of San Francisco, where passengers on a Muni train were so absorbed into their phones/tablets, that they failed to notice a stranger pulling out a gun next to them:

A man standing on a crowded Muni train pulls out a .45-caliber pistol.

He raises the gun, pointing it across the aisle, before tucking it back against his side. He draws it out several more times, once using the hand holding the gun to wipe his nose. Dozens of passengers stand and sit just feet away – but none reacts.

Their eyes, focused on smartphones and tablets, don’t lift until the gunman fires a bullet into the back of a San Francisco State student getting off the train.

Investigators say this scene was captured by a Muni camera on Sept. 23, the night Nikhom Thephakaysone, 30, allegedly killed 20-year-old Justin Valdez in an apparently random encounter.

For police and prosecutors, the details of the case were troubling – they believe the suspect had been out “hunting” for a stranger to kill – but so too was the train passengers’ collective inattention to imminent danger.

The D.A. said: “These people are in very close proximity with him, and nobody sees this. They’re just so engrossed, texting and reading and whatnot. They’re completely oblivious of their surroundings.”

I am not saying being more mindful of their surroundings would have stopped this crime, but this kind of absorption is mind-boggling to me. When I am on public transport, I make sure to look up and observe my surroundings every few minutes…


The Dangers of Texting While Walking

Texting while walking: more dangerous than you think, folks. From The New York Times:

While there’s little current data about the number of people injured while texting, more than 1,000 pedestrians visited emergency rooms in 2008 after they were injured while using a cellphone to talk or text. That had doubled each year since 2006, according to a study conducted by Ohio State University.

Casey Neistat is a New York-based filmmaker who’s made a film to accompany the above text. See the film here.

The Upside of the Blackberry Outage

After the three-day Blackberry outage across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, The National (the English newspaper of the United Arab Emirates) reports the upside of the said outage:

A dramatic fall in traffic accidents this week has been directly linked to the three-day disruption in BlackBerry services.

In Dubai, traffic accidents fell 20 per cent from average rates on the days BlackBerry users were unable to use its messaging service. In Abu Dhabi, the number of accidents this week fell 40 per cent and there were no fatal accidents.

I’d like to see more concrete evidence here, but anecdotally, this makes sense: texting kills.

One statistic from the article that seems excessive to me:

On average there is a traffic accident every three minutes in Dubai, while in Abu Dhabi there is a fatal accident every two days.

Does anyone know of such traffic statistics for other cities around the world?