Social media is everything for some people and important for everyone. You want to understand what people are saying. After all, it’s a modern water cooler, big enough for the whole world to be around it.
With that in mind, we’ve brought you eight social media terms and slang that will give you a head start when reading everything on social media.
1. Private message (DM)
Let’s start by discussing the “hidden” side of social media. It’s nothing sneaky but more about what’s going on outside of your main stream.
Each user has a private inbox and you can receive messages there. This is sometimes called a private message (PM), although it is more often referred to as your DMs because the message is reaching you rather than staying on a public thread.
This social media feature has a myriad of names depending on the brand and site in question. Here are just a few:
- Vines: Twitter – although this name is no longer used for nostalgia
- Stories: Facebook
- Coils: Instagram
- Shorts: Youtube
We’ve looked at short video formats in the past, and we encourage you to check out this post; if you don’t know how to use them.
We know this one is as simple as they come. However, it should be noted that hashtags weren’t a part of social media until Twitter and Instagram made them popular.
For those who don’t know, hashtags are short, “connectable” words and phrases that are found next to (or sometimes inside) social media posts.
They were previously limited to certain social media platforms, but now you’ll find them all over the space.
4. Reactions and emojis
In short, and as you may know, emojis are graphical icons that do what “emoticons” did before. In other words, they convey emotions without words.
There was even a film dedicated to emojis (although we don’t recommend watching if you’re serious about the movie). Classic “face-based” emojis are still popular, although there are a few unique choices you’ll see often:
- 💀: The skull is used when something is cranky, embarrassing, or uncomfortable. This represents the death inside, and you will also see the coffin (⚰️) used too.
- 🔥: The fire emoji is used when something has gone well or has taken off. It’s “on”, as the children say. 😎
As for the reactions, they can be found on social networks (Facebook is the most popular) by publication. It allows you to like a message using a selection of emojis, so the user can better gauge their reaction. It was something introduced at Buzzfeed, and took off across all of social media.
There are many more based on local customs and use cases, so be prepared to research anything that pops up on a regular basis.
This author is a fan of educational children’s books. If you’re learning a new topic, one of the best ways to keep it going is to explain it to someone younger. If they can get it, your distilled version is more likely to stay in your brain.
The concept of ELI5 is the same – “Explain as if I was five”. This is common on Reddit, where there is even a sub-reddit dedicated to the concept.
This is a great way to “grok” huge concepts and understand them at a basic level.
It’s one of the most recent terms found on social media – so much so that there is a difference of opinion on what it means. The general consensus is that it differentiates between likes and retweets. Considering the significance, you’ll find it on Twitter almost exclusively.
In a nutshell, if you get more replies than “likes” for a Tweet, you are “proportionate”. This often means that you have been controversial in one way or another because you have fewer likes than comments on your post. This had led some users to boast of bragging rights, as a form of trolling.
7. Hit Me (HMU)
HMU isn’t something social media invented, but it took it under its wing. HMU is another way of saying “Give me this”, “Call me”, “Contact me” or similar. It has its uses in dating discussions, although it can be applicable in a wide variety of situations.
It’s on this list as a representative of acronyms on social media. You’ll find them used often, as they save space in limited-format posts while providing context.
8. “Weird Flex”
A flex is of course something a muscle does, especially if you are proud of it. As such, a flex is when you show off on social media. To take this a step further, a strange flex is when a user shows up, but others find it strange or unremarkable.
Again, inflection is not a term that was born out of social media, but that has been woven into the lexicon. through memes. “Weird flex, but ok” is something you’ll find a lot with image-based posts, especially when the image is weird or unique.
Given how central social media is to our lives, it is important to understand what is being said on different platforms. Just like any popular medium, there is a lot of slang floating around. Your responsibility is to learn it, whether it’s by being a pioneer or reading articles like this.
If you’re wondering if you’re spending too much time on social media, we’ve discussed its addictive properties in the past. Do you have any social media slang that we missed? Let us know in the comments section below!
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