Nobody in business has time to read anymore, right? Modern conversational media, like text messaging or even email, are regularly scrutinized because of their abbreviated vocabularies. Media-specific symbols, codes and abbreviations, mostly incomprehensible to the non-user, baffle the occasional text message sender, and a linguist who has never bothered to log on might see a colon followed by an end parenthesis 🙂 as a gross typographical error.
But symbols and abbreviations are necessary in business because they offer simple and more efficient ways to convey long bits of information, provided the audience understands the intended meaning.
While terms like ASAP and RSVP are almost universally understood, other acronyms aren’t always so readily discernable. Take SPINS, for example, meaning “special instructions” in military speak. Or POV, which can be a “privately owned vehicle” or a “point of view.” In the computer world, even SATAN is an acronym, meaning “Security Administrator Tool for Analyzing Networks.”
Acronyms are intended to be effective, productive ways of conveying greater meanings through minimal effort