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Do you speak 'Internet'?

It’s hard to deny that these quirky words are having an impact on communication.

Aug 17, 2021

Words: Asheda Weekes

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Have you wondered about how much the Internet has impacted the way you communicate IRL (in real life)?

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been surrounded by computers. It’s only natural when your dad started his career as an IT consultant during the heyday of the internet revolution.

Naturally, and almost unfortunately, I’ve adopted the evolving language of the World Wide Web.

It’s a wild ride to keep up with it, but here’s a glimpse of how we’re talking online today. Naturally, I’m doing this in a listicle style because, hey, it’s a winner for getting those clicks.

“It means ‘I love you’ in dinosaur.”

Four (of many) slang words I used in the 2000s

It means ‘I love you’ in dinosaur.

Rofl (Rolling on the floor laughing)
The scale of laughing online was: haha => lol => lmao => rofl

Before there was a full suite of emojis to play with, you had to use your keyboard to convey emotions. Tilt your head and see a very smiley face (smiling so hard, their eyes scrunch up).
Another fave was ^_^

bf4l/bffl (best friends for life) This would sit in your MSN name or MySpace bio with your best friend’s

Five pieces of internet slang I’m using rn and why

rn (right now)
Pretty self-explanatory on its use, but I think I like using it because it looks softer and therefore can come across as less aggressive. ‘Right now’ gives off an urgency and is often used in demanding language.

👀 / Eyes emoji
This pops up when I want to highlight specific information, usually alluding to some kind of drama, tension, in-joke or something exciting. For me, this emoji includes ‘raised eyebrows’, because the eyes are wide.

~ / tilde symbol
I use this to ‘italicise’ a word to draw attention, and often in a positive and/or light-hearted context, e.g. That was ~delicious.

ily (I love you)
ily has been around for a long time, but it will forever stay in my vocabulary. It’s light, it’s fun, and it’s just a nice little acronym to show affection.

AF (as f*ck)
A hyperbolic acronym to tag on when you want to exaggerate what you’re feeling or experiencing, e.g. I’m tired AF.
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Four emojis and their cultural innuendos in 2021

/ Dead

This is basically the new ‘lol’ or laughing emoji. Sorry millennials... you’re not cool anymore.

✋🤠 / Raised Hand + Cowboy

Aka ‘Stop cowboy’ or ‘Whoa cowboy’ is another response to something funny.

🎣 / Fishing

Fishing for compliments or validation.

👁👄👁 / Eye + mouth + eye

Stunned/surprised/not sure how to react.

I’ll keep trying to stay up-to-date with online slang. For instance, recently, when my teenage brother told me it’s lame to use lol or the laughing emoji, I was lowkey embarrassed, but also fascinated with how it shifted to the use of the skull emoji.

Whether you’re an avid Internet or social media user or not, it’s hard to deny that these quirky or even outlandish looking words and symbols are having an incredibly powerful impact on our culture and communication.

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