These stories are pretty good. Doesn't really give credit to who started it but.......
The origins go back a lot further than you might think.
I sent my first email in 1952 when computers and the Internet were still so far in the future that few people, if any, could conceive such a thing. I used Morse code.
Morse was very slow (in practical terms you could only work at the speed of the distant operator which was often less than 20 and rarely as high as 25 words per minute) so we devised all manner of abbreviations to save time.
Those were the days before everybody had a telephone in their home (and still 40 years before mobile phones became available) so people wrote letters or sent telegrams. At Christmas the operating centres were flooded with greetings and so many read "Merry Christmas and a happy new year" that we used to abbreviate it to "M X and A H N Y" which saved lots of time. Since the receiving telegraphist could type much faster than Morse could be sent, he (a man's world in Oz at that time) had no trouble keeping up.
Nope. That would have been too slow. LOL was .-.. --- .-.. (three letters) so we if wanted to share a laugh with the distant operator we would use three dashes and a dot (---.) which was internationally recognised as a laugh signal.
When the techies of the computer age began communicating (either on a fixed line or the Internet) it evolved into LOL.
We had lots of abbreviations to help the Morse work faster but they didn't come close to the Textspeak being used by modern kids. To an old telegraphist it was kind of startling to see GF used in a friendly manner to mean "girlfriend" when, in my day, it was a rather unfriendly epithet that meant something quite different -- but which may well have involved a BF and a GF ---.
Dear Megan Goodgirl,
Here is what I found on www.answers.com - that "LOL was first coined on a BBS called Viewline in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, in the early-to-mid-80s." The name of the man who came up with it was Wayne Pearson.
And this answer received 46 votes of confidence, so there you are!