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The age of 'Dot-Comversation'

24 Sep 2012

- Art of ‘convo’ evolving as ‘sound bite’ sentences become the norm for time strapped Brits
- Research from first direct the bank reveals 72% of the UK regularly use text-speak in everyday conversation

A recent Ofcom report highlighted that texting has taken over from the telephone as the nation’s preferred  communications route. Research from first direct has revealed that nearly three quarters (72%) of the UK regularly use text message shorthand in everyday conversation – preferring to talk in sound bites rather than speak in full sentences*.

And it’s not just the younger generation pushing the trend, 60% of 45 year olds and over also use abbreviations in speech to shorten interaction time.

The text message abbreviation ‘ASAP’ has proved most popular in the UK, with nearly half (43%) of people admitting to using the term in speech as well as when texting. Other popular slang includes ‘LOL’ (37%) and ‘OMG’ (33%)

The emergence of sound bite sentences, dubbed ‘dot-comversation’, or dot.comvo for short, is an indication of our increasingly hectic lifestyles as we shorten words to speed-up our conversations. The growth in social media channels, that encourage users to write in short sentences, is helping to spread this trend.

Professor David Crystal has studied English language all his life, says: “Popular social sites such as Twitter, and applications like Blackberry Messenger, encourage users to communicate in short, punchy sound bites. The use of new slang has also become a popular way to keep conversational exchanges lively and direct. And there are signs now that this is starting to affect the way we communicate in everyday conversation.“

However Professor David Crystal doesn’t believe this new form of slang is a bad thing. He says: “Long, drawn-out exchanges can easily be replaced by shorter ‘chat’ without that destroying meaningful conversation. However, it's important that people develop a balanced ability, maintaining well-established conversational practices while experimenting with new ones”.

And it’s not just the increased use of social media sites that is having an impact on the English language, popular TV shows such as The Only Way is Essex are also helping to alter the way we communicate. According to research from first direct , regional slang has received a surge in popularity, with phrases like ‘be ream’ and ‘well jell’ entering into everyday conversations.

The UK wide research also shows that we’ve become much more tolerant of slang, with only 22% of those questioned saying they did not like hearing slang in conversation.

Natalie Cowen, Head of Brand Communications at first direct believes it’s time we all got more creative with our conversations. She says: “We understand more than anyone the importance of conversation, we’ve built our business around it, and our award winning service is because of it.

“This research highlights the way everyday conversations adapt to new technologies and how we need to keep ahead in understanding how communications change according to whether they’re on the telephone, email, twitter, facebook etc.”


first direct has uncovered the UK’s most tired and overused phrases. These clichéd conversation fillers have been voted most likely to annoy.

1. According to research the most irritating phrase is ‘do you get me?’ with a third of people saying they dislike hearing it.

2. The second most detested phrase is: ‘I’m not being funny, but’ with 31% of people saying they hate to hear this in conversation.

3. Even if you are the creative type, don’t be tempted to say you are ‘thinking outside the box’ - 29% of those questioned said it was their most hated phrase.

4. Ending your sentences with the phrase ‘you know what I mean?’ will not make you popular – over a quarter (28%) of the UK find this phrase unbearable.

5. Fifth on the list of annoying phrases is: ‘at the end of the day’, a quarter (26%) of us detest the phrase.


For further information please contact on 01132766700 or on 01132766899.

*Research carried out by OnePoll on a base of 2000.


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