Life online … too old for all those acronyms?

Ever feel like having your 12 year old act as your interpreter?

I’m certain I’m not alone when I admit that I’ve received more than a few emails with acronyms I just didn’t “get”. And while, yes, many of the most popular internet abbreviations are absolute slang and better reserved for tweens, some seem to be creeping their way into daily online conversation among adults – even business correspondence.

Resistance is futile. The landscape of communication is changing, and these terms are becoming more and more a part of daily life for anyone with a computer, handheld device or mobile phone. In fact, some have already been added to Webster’s Dictionary, and others have transcended online use and are spoken as part of actual, verbal conversation.

Bottom line? These quirky little abbreviations and acronyms are here to stay.  If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! Here are some of the most widely used … and what they mean:

BR = Best Regards
BRB = Be Right Back
BTW = By The Way
EM = Email
FAQ = Frequently Asked Question
FB = Facebook
GMTA = Great Minds Think Alike
GTR = Got To Run
HAGD = Have A Good Day
HAND = Have A Nice Day
IDK = I Don’t Know
IRL = In Real Life (as opposed to internet life?)
IM = Instant Message
IMHO = In My Humble Opinion
IMO = In My Opinion
JK or J/K = Just Kidding
JMO = Just My Opinion
LOL = Laugh Out Loud (or Laughing Out Loud)
NP = No Problem
NT = No Thanks
OT = Off Topic
OTOH = On The Other Hand
OTW = On The Way
PPL = People
ROFL = Rolling On Floor Laughing
SO = Significant Other
TC = Take Care
THX = Thanks
TNT = ‘Til Next Time
TPTB = The Powers That Be
TTFN = Ta Ta For Now
TTYL = Talk To You Later
TY = Thank You
TYVM = Thank You Very Much
WTG = Way To Go
YW = Your Welcome

And what about all those online “terms” that you’ve been afraid to admit you don’t understand?
Here are some of the more common terms and their definitions:

“Blog”
Short for “web log”. Essentially an online journal.

“Vlog”
A video-format blog.

“Deface” or “Unfriend”
To remove someone as a friend (on Facebook, etc.)

“Post”
To publish a comment, blog, article, etc online.

“Flaming”, “Flame” or “Flamer”
Someone who posts inflammatory, rude, disruptive or hostile comments online.

“Troll”
Someone who looks for ways to stir up trouble online. Similar to a “Flamer”.

“Lurker”
Someone who reads, but does not participate in, comments or discussions online.

“Hacker”
Someone who infiltrates a system, a website, someone’s account, etc.

“Avatar”
An icon/graphic/image to represent you online.

“Beta”
A mostly-working version of something that is still undergoing testing.

“Adware”
Actual, legitimate software or program that displays advertising when you use it.

“Freeware”
Software that is free – both free to use and free to distribute

“Malware”
Malicious software that may harm your computer.

“Spyware”
Software that covertly embeds the ability for a third-party to monitor your online activities and/or data.

“App”
A software application, usually one designed to be small and streamlined for use on a mobile device.

“Plug-in”
A small bit of software that can be “plugged into” a larger software program for added functionality.

“Widget”
A stand-alone element/application that can be inserted into a website, blog, etc. Kind of a like a tiny bit of software that performs a special, small function.

“Meme”
The viral spread of a concept, term, video, idea, etc. via the internet.

“Netiquette”
Internet etiquette. Commonly accepted rules of politeness online.

“Snail Mail”
Good old postal/direct/physical mail, as opposed to an email.

“Spam”
Unsolicited or junk email.

“Spoiler” or “Spoiler Alert”
Someone is about to give something away (the ending of a movie, etc).

“Webspeak” or “Netspeak”
All of the above.

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