Kudos to John McWhorter for his hopeful essay about the rise of quick communications like text message and IM acronyms, or emails that do not evidence proper punctuation or capitalization.
McWhorter is a fairly rare academic type--the African-American who disagrees "sustainedly" with many tenets of the civil rights movement. In this essay he also goes against the grain. Rather than a harbinger of the death of English, LOL etc. are a new form of communication never seen before: "fingered speech."
As McWhorter reminds us, written communication of any type is a very recent phenomenon, "If Homo sapiens had existed for 24 hours, writing only came along after 11 p.m." Speaking is essential, writing is optional. And our speaking tends to be brief, direct, to the point. "Fingered speech" renders that type of speech--with all its shagginessm informality, and imperfectiosn--for reading.
That's new, and that's all. There is no risk that this type of communication will eliminate more rigorous forms of writing. We now have a new communication tool at our disposal, but the older tools haven't gone anywhere.