When I first arrived at University, and my new friends started conversing with me via e-mail, they complained that they didn't understand all the "funny letter things" that I kept using! Anyway, here's a list of the most common acronyms that I use after several years of using Usenet and IRC (Internet Relay Chat).
For a more complete list of 'net abbreviations, google knows all: Internet Acronyms.
Also known as "emoticons," these invaluable symbols let you convey some emotion or extra meaning in text messages, much like facial expressions do in real life. to read them, turn your head 90 degrees to the left and you should be able to make out a little face. Some people give their smilies noses, others don't, so I have included both versions here.
|  :) or :-)||Happiness or a joke|
|  :( or :-(||Unhappy emotion|
|  ;) or ;-)||Wink - implies sarcasm or something similar|
|  <g>||Grin. Not really a smiley, but still an emoticon. Watch for variations such as <evil g> (evil grin), <bg> (big grin) and <vbg> (very big grin).|
There are many variations on these basic ones, but once you have the basic idea you can usually guess what any variation means.
|AFAIK||As Far As I Know|
|AFK||Away From Keyboard|
|ATM||At The Moment|
|BFN||Bye For Now|
|brb||Be Right Back|
|BTW||By The Way|
|HTH||Hope This Helps|
|IIRC||If I Recall Correctly|
|IM(H)O||In My (Humble/Honest) Opinion|
|IRL||In Real Life|
|ISTR||I Seem To Recall|
|IYSWIM||If You See What I Mean|
|JOOI||Just Out Of Interest|
|LOL||Laugh Out Loud|
|OTOH||On The Other Hand|
|ROFL||Rolling On Floor Laughing|
|SYS||See You Soon|
|TTFN||Ta ta for now|
|TTYL||Talk To You Later|
|WYSIWYG||What You See Is What You Get|
© Nathan Dimmock 1999