Acronyms – Handy or Cumbersome

Acronyms – we all know them and use them for good reason. It is so much easier to say NASA than National Aeronautics and Space Administration, right? I think most everyone are familiar with the word radar, but did you know that it stands for Radio Detecting and Ranging? I sure didn’t until today!

Keep in mind – there is a difference between acronyms and initialisms. Initialisms are the initials for a stream of related words. These initialisms are common on the internet and in text speak. Phrases like BMPs – best management practices, or IMO – in my opinion, or SOS – save our sailors. You put acronyms together in such a way that you can easily pronounce it, like ASAP- as soon as possible, or SCUBA – self-contained underwater breathing apparatus.

The University of Florida is mighty fond of acronyms and initialisms.  I especially like FAWN – the Florida Automated Weather Network.  Then, we should all be familiar with EDIS – the Electronic Distribution of Information System.  I have noticed that they seem to be careful about creating any awkward acronyms. I heard there was talk several years back about renaming a building in the state the Florida Agricultural Instructional Library – maybe it was just a rumor.

Some acronyms serve their purpose well, like NASA’s, others – not so much. I recently had the opportunity to learn more about not-for-profit organizations in a class led by a CEO of one. She spoke of recognizing supporters for the work they do. She said that at her organization donors are given the designation of Strategic Alliance Partner. I had to wonder if donating to her cause made them actually feel like SAP’s.