Thursday, April 21, 2011

Net Lingo – Get With It

FTW, IMHO, URL, RSS, “phishing,” and what do @ and # really mean in Twitter-talk? This doesn’t even include the “emoticons,” those cute little visuals creatively made up from simple letters, symbols and numbers, though they’re fairly easy to figure out just by looking at them.  ;-)    FYI:  that’s me smiling and winking at you.

If this all just so much alphabet soup for you, here’s a way to unscramble the meaning and get with it as you dip your toe into the fast moving river of social media, texting, Tweeting and chatting on Facebook (though now you can actually talk with someone there). *

This is also especially useful to know if you have kids who are texting their little thumbs off, and you want to make sure they’re safe and not being inappropriate in their use of social media.

For “newbies,” those who are not familiar with all this tech stuff, here are some of the most commonly used alphabet shortcuts found in any social media environment. Many of them have crept into everyday discussion, and OMG even made it into Webster’s dictionary this year.

In no particular order, here are some of them:

·    OMG – Oh my gosh, Oh my god
·    LOL – Laughing out loud
·    ROTFL – Rolling on the floor laughing (Alt: ROTFLOL)
·    ROTFLMAO – Rolling on the floor laughing my a** off
·    BTW – by the way
·    IMHO – in my humble opinion
·    FTW – for the win (it’s a good thing, thumbs up, etc)
·    WOOT – same as FTW
·    GF – girl friend
·    FAQ – frequently asked questions (you’ll often see this on customer service pages)
·    PDF - “Portable Document Format” from Abobe’s software, an app used to compress documents and images to they can be efficiently transferred on-line via email, etc.
·    URL – Universal Resource Locator. For the purpose of this list, and in everyday language, this is the address of a web page.
·    VR – virtual reality, an artificial, computer generated simulated environment that feels real.
·    RSS – Really Simple Syndication – read my earlier blog, RSS = Really Simple Syndication to learn how to use it. Apps that help make it easier to read articles on-line can be found in “There’s An App For That – RSS Readers.”

·    App – this is the short term for “application,” that software that makes your smartphone and computer do what it does so well.

·    Cloud – that amorphous place where data is stored and accessed via the internet. To learn more about this, read Is Your Head in the Cloud About Data Storage?

·    Phishing, Pharming – this is a form of email hoax wherein the bad guys get us to think that their email is coming from a legitimate, recognized source so they can get our personal information and use it for their malicious purposes. Read my blog on this: “Gone Phishing – Protect Your Information From Fraud.”

·    Spam – unsolicited junk email sent out in bulk.

·    Zine – electronic magazine; could be the on-line version of a printed mag, or a magazine that exists only on-line, a.k.a.: cyberspace.
As you can imagine, with kids texting more than talking on the phone, never mind at the dinner table, there’s a whole dictionary of short cuts to express long and often complicated thoughts. Here are just a few of the most basic:

·    2G2BT – too good to be true

·    404 – I haven’t a clue

·    459– I love you

·    831 – I love you

·    9 – parent is watching

·    86 – it’s over, out of, gone

·    ?^ - hook up

·    AAMOF – as a matter of fact

·    IMOH – in my humble opinion

·    10Q – thank you

It you’re on Twitter, by now you should know that the @ (at) symbol with a user name after it means that someone has mentioned this name in their tweet and it can be referenced.

The # (hash mark, hash tag) symbol means that it’s a subject with people discussing it, so if you’re talking about “kitchens,” any time you put #kitchen in the search window, guess what? You’ll see a list of all the recent twitter posts about kitchens.

Twitter chats, those lively interactions between people, usually at a set time of day, use # to create a stream of discussion that anyone can jump in on to observe and contribute. Each post will include the # and name of the discussion, and the whole list of tweets can be referenced at a later time if you couldn’t participate in real time.

If you type in all caps, that’s considered shouting, and definitely not cool, SO DON’T DO IT!

I hope this gives you a sense of how the language is evolving to give peeps (people) a way to communicate, often from smartphones where speed and efficiency are paramount.

If you want more information about text and chat acronyms, I suggest you visit NetLingo. This site draws the curtain so everyone can see how the language has morphed (transformed, changed, almost as if by magic), and what some words and letter combinations now mean.

 * See my post about talking on Facebook chat; "Talk on Facebook Chat? Yup, It's Really Here."

This information is for guideline purposes only, and is no guarantee that your teenagers will listen to you, even after you starting using these acronyms in an endeavor to effectively communicate with them.

Images courtesy of,,

Copyright © The B. Hammil Company, 2011

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