I am raising a worldwide cry to buck against the pressure of using "lol" and such shortcuts to express emotions in instant messaging. Be creative! For example, use increments of "ha"; "ha" would indicate a snort or short giggle, whereas "hahahahahahahahahaha" might be a belly laugh.
One of my friends once said that if you think you're a leader, you should look behind and see who or what is behind you. Do I dare cast a look over my shoulder?