Online slang and acronyms
Twitter, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, and even plain old text messaging use slang and acronyms to reduce our character-count and save us from mistyping what we meant to say. Here’s your Rosetta Stone to online slang.
DM: Direct Message. Initially used on Twitter to send private messages between users. When you want to share something privately, you send a DM.
AMA: Ask Me Anything. Made popular on Reddit, in an AMA, a person or group answer questions posted in real-time to the AMA session. Politicians, movie stars, scientists, musicians, and regular people with unusual jobs have all held popular AMAs on Reddit. The term is more generally used now for any public Q&A session.
ELI5: Explain Like I’m Five. Another one from Reddit, ELI5 asks for a simplified explanation of a complex subject. Science, technology, and medicine are frequent ELI5 topics.
facepalm: When you see or hear of someone doing something incredibly idiotic, you drop your head and put your face in the palm of your hand. Typing the hashtag #facepalm indicates disbelief, dismay, ridicule, or disappointment.
FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. Fear of missing out on a promotion, a concert, a new phone, a vacation, just about anything. FOMO is hard to drop into a conversation, but I hear it from time to time, almost always about someone else.
FTFY: Fixed That For You. FTFY can be used literally or sarcastically.
A: “The Rams didn’t have much ffnse today.”
B: “The Rams didn’t have much offense today. #FTFY”
A: “The new Tehachapi sign is better than the old one.”
B: “The old Tehachapi sign was better than the new one. #FTFY”
headdesk: Use #headdesk to indicate that you’re hitting your head on your desk in some ultimate #facepalm situation.
ICYMI: In Case You Missed It. Aw look, the internet people are trying to be polite. Use ICYMI when you don’t know if someone already knows a particular thing or you’re repeating something you may have said before.
IMO / IMHO: In My Opinion / In My Humble Opinion. Again, the internet people are trying to be polite by letting you know that whatever follows is just their opinion. IMHO can also be sarcastic if the person doesn’t have a humble opinion.
IRL: In Real Life. The internet gives people a chance to have a whole other life online, so people usually keep their virtual and real selves separated. If you want to talk about your real life, use IRL so your audience knows it’s your real life.
JSYK: Just So You Know. It’s the new FYI (For Your Information.) Since FYI has crossed over into our spoken language, I suppose it must be time to move on to a new thing?
MIRL: Me In Real Life. Used as a hashtag on an image or a reaction GIF that reflects you in real life. Almost always self-deprecating humor.
NSFW: Not Safe For Work. A link marked as NSFW probably leads to a page that has nudity, graphic language, or something else offensive. Don’t open the link at work or in an environment where someone might be offended. Or don’t open it at all.
SMH: Shaking My Head. #SMH is a reaction to someone doing or saying something you find exceptionally dumb.
TBT: Throwback Thursday. More of an Instagram thing, but spreading. Post an old photo on a Thursday and tag it with #TBT to get more likes and comments.
TIL: Today I Learned. Not new information, but new to you and shared with a #TIL hashtag. Began on Reddit, but now used almost everywhere.
TL;DR: Too Long; Didn’t Read. Sometimes there’s too much information, too much detail to absorb. Use TL;DR as an excuse for not reading something. Authors can use TL;DR as a summary section of a long paper or article.
YMMV: Your Mileage May Vary. Just because I liked a place or thing, doesn’t mean you will, too. Easy to say that by throwing out a quick YMMV.
Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org.