Finance Consumer Jargon made simple: How to speak … social media
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Jargon made simple: How to speak … social media

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By now, just about everyone knows what internet slang like ‘LOL’ or ‘WTF’ means, but what about some of the other weird terms and acronyms you see popping up on your social feeds? Here’s a comprehensive guide to all the web slang that leaves you scratching your head.

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Internet acronyms

AMA – means ’Ask Me Anything’. Originally popularised on Reddit during celebrity Q&As, this is essentially an invitation for people to … well, ask you anything.

TBH – ‘To be honest’. This does exactly what it says on the box, effectively acting as the prelude to a very direct sentiment. It can also be used at the end of a sentence to soften bad news. For example: “I don’t think I’ll make it to your party tonight tbh.”

DMs – Stands for Direct Messages. Alternative terms are private messages (or PMs) and instant messages (or IMs). Trying to flirt with a stranger on Instagram? That’s called ‘sliding into their DMs’, and don’t be shocked when it winds up completely backfiring because it’s become a bit of a faux pas.

FTFY – Is ‘fixed that for you’. You use this when delivering a passive aggressive correction beneath someone’s initial remark. It won’t do you any favours, but it’ll make you feel better.

ICYMI – Is ‘in case you missed it’. It’s usually used in sincerity to point you in the direction of something you might like that you haven’t seen yet.

MFW/TFW/MRW – Using a gif or image to express your current emotional state over something? Precede your status with “My Face When” “That feeling when” or “My reaction when”.

Oh, and ICYMI, a gif is a moving image.

IMO/IMHO – In my opinion/In my humble/honest opinion. This is one that is usually used quite sincerely, but basically amounts to “jussayin”. You could also precede your spicy opinion with ‘NGL’, or Not Gonna Lie.

IRL – You’ve definitely seen this one before. It means In real life. As in, “Don’t say this IRL”.

JSYK – Just so you know. This one falls into the pass-agg category. It’s a pretty abrasive way of setting the tone before you lay down some serious knowledge in the comments section. Just be aware you might ruffle a few feathers.

NSFW/NSFL – If you’re in a more unpredictable corner of the web, you might run across the acronym ‘NSFW’, or Not Safe For Work. This runs on a common sense principle – the thing you’re about to view probably contains material that you wouldn’t be comfortable with your boss seeing over your shoulder. Usually, it indicates nudity but it can potentially mean a lot of other things.

Its older, much scarier brother is NSFL, or Not Safe For Life. If you see this, just don’t click the link.

FWIW – ‘For what it’s worth’. This is usually an indication that you’re about to share an opinion or aside in an ongoing discussion.

TIL – Today I learned. This is another one from Reddit and it’s pretty self-explanatory. Firing off a new hot fact? You could say something like “TIL Buzz Aldrin was the first man to urinate on the moon.” Amazing.

Meme – Generally speaking, this is a humorous image, video or piece of audio or text that’s altered and spread by internet users. It can be something simple and relatable, or incredibly obscure and weird. In fact, a meme can be basically anything so long as it communicates a (usually humorous) idea between two people.

Social media slang

Troll – To antagonise with the intention of provoking a strong negative response

Fam – Shorthand for family. Used to describe close friends

Lit – Drunk, exciting or trendy

Roast – Verbally humiliate, usually in the presence of an audience

Salty – Snarky, spiteful

Shook – Disturbed, concerned to the point of fear

Savage – Unrelentingly ruthless

Slay – To impress, usually through performance

Thirsty – Creepy, sleazy

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