A Beginner’s Guide to Internet Slang for Social Media - dummies

A Beginner’s Guide to Internet Slang for Social Media

By Marsha Collier

The Internet, especially social media, has some mysterious words of its own that are not always understood by those over 30. Understanding (and using) these acronyms may help you chip away at a possible bias. Plus, it’s an eye-opener when you understand the secret (ever-changing) language of internet slang kids use today.

These internet slang terms are for intermittent usage; don’t use them too often or you’ll be deemed uncool. It would be easy to list a hundred, but for brevity’s sake, here are some favorite Internet slang phrases.

  • AMA: Ask Me Anything. This started on a website called Reddit, where an authority on a subject takes open questions.
  • BAE: Before Anything Else. This acronym is generally used when referring to one’s sweetie or dear one.
  • DM: Direct Message (also PM = Private Message). The default way to give permission for someone to message you in private.
  • ELI5: Explain Like I’m 5. When you want a simple, short explanation of something.
  • Epic: An adjective to describe anything huge or amazing.
  • Facepalm: Reaction when someone says or does something incredibly stupid.
  • ICYMI: In Case You Missed It. When you mention something that you think most people already know or you have said it before. Manners count.
  • IMHO: In my humble opinion. Use when you’re trying to put across a point, but you don’t want to be pushy about it.
  • IRL: In Real Life. Real life versus Internet life.
  • JSYK: Just So You Know. This is the new way of writing FYI.
  • Lulz: For the laughs. A derivative of the longstanding LOL (Laughing Out Loud), meaning you did something just for fun.
  • Lurker: Someone who follows a chat or a forum but never comments. (This is a perfectly acceptable practice.)
  • Meme: Superimposing a snarky comment (or captioning an image) on a photo. I would show you a screen shot, but they are generally NSFW. You can make your own memes with this meme generator.
  • NSFW: Not Safe For Work. Anything marked NSFW should not be viewed on a big screen in a public environment.
  • Photobomb: When someone (human or animal) unexpectedly appears in a photo. Like when your cousin Larry jumped in between you and your Bae while taking a selfie.
    photobomb
    Photobombing for social media.
  • PWNED: When you’ve been PWNED, you’ve been defeated or humiliated and your opponent has victory over you. Also used as a noun: PWNAGE.
  • SMH: Shaking my Head. Conveys disappointment in something someone does or says.
  • TBT: Throwback Thursday. When you want to share something from the past, do it on a Thursday and tag it #TBT.
  • TL;DR: Too Long; Didn’t Read. If you share an article that seems really valuable, but it went into minute detail, you might not have time to read the entire thing. Mark your comment TL;DR.
  • TROLL: Trolls are people who post to annoy or anger you. They can be terribly annoying. The best advice I have is, “Don’t feed the trolls.” Just block them and move forward.
  • Well played: A response when someone does something particularly well.
  • YOLO: You Only Live Once. Your excuse to do something incredibly wacky.

There are many Internet slang dictionaries on the web, but view at your own risk (just for lulz).