Over lunch one day, a co-worker grumbled about something being "v. annoying."
It took a second for me to understand what the quick, consonant blip pre-adjective was, and when my brain processed it, I realized something: Yet again, we'd contextualized Internet slang into a colloquialism.
Or was it as new-fangled as it seemed?
OMG, after all, the classic abbreviation—used by squealing pre-teens, shocked parents, and everyone in between to evoke a three-syllabic exclamation of emotions ranging from surprise to ironic excitement—was one of the original text acronyms to be translated from cellphone screen to language (remember those "scandalous" Gossip Girl ads with block letter "OMFG" plastered over racy, hazy scenes of the show's Upper East Siders?). Then there was LOL (spelled aloud as "el-oh-el," or pronounced alternately as "lawl," or with a zippy z at the end, "lawlz"), whose evocation raised a contradiction—often saying "LOL" means you aren't actually laughing.
The story of v. is one that might be easily sourced initially to textese, the often indecipherable code spoken in the early text messaging era when each message was precious and could only hold 140 characters.
But v.'s modern usage might be traced to the same retro 140-character efficiency in another platform: Twitter. Using v., after all, allows for more characters for valuable expression, saving real estate for numbers or hashtags—particularly if the period is removed.