Friday, March 13, 2009

We need more letters in the alphabet - here's why

On my drive to work one morning, I passed a truck with the words "OMG Roofing Products" on it. If you go to the company's website, you can see that "OMG" is a registered trademark, and you can learn about OMG.

This company is not to be confused with the OM Group, which has the NYSE ticker symbol OMG.

Nor is it to be confused with the Object Management Group, which uses "OMG" as a non-registered trademark.

Meanwhile, there are a number of people such as myself who are snickering at the abbreviation used by all of these organizations. You see, in online chat and related uses, "OMG" stands for "Oh My Gosh." Or something like that.

In fact, Acronym Finder documents 23 meanings for the acronym OMG. In addition to "Object Management Group" and some variants on the one I listed (and implied) above, here are a few others:

Omega (gaming)
Old Magazines (pulp and paper industry)
Oh Em Gee (clothing business)
Outlaw Motorcycle Gang
Operational Maneuver Group

Now I happen to be a LOA (lover of acronyms), but even I am forced to admit that acronyms can lead to confusion when used outside of context. What happens if I decide to order some roofing fasteners, and a bunch of bikers show up at my door instead?

Now if we had more than 26 letters in the English alphabet, perhaps we could avoid these collisions. But I suspect we'd need a LOT more letters.

So my advice to you? SIO (spell it out).
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