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Practice Management > Marketing and Communications > Social Media

24 social media acronyms you should know

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“OMG, I just figured out what SMH means!”

That was me a few months ago and, apparently, I’m not the only one. It took me some time to understand that this acronym means “shaking my head.” After seeing it repeatedly on Twitter and Facebook, I decided to Google it. And voilà, now I know.

The Internet and texting have made all these “secret” languages possible. From using acronyms for everything, AKA “acronyming,” to other types of coding languages like 1337 (leetspeak), these types of slang exist in different communities online. Gamers, Twitter users and even teenagers that text a lot use these shortcuts to communicate. As a result, some of these acronyms or terms have made it into our daily Internet language usage, too (think LOL: laughing out loud).

This type of slang has emerged alongside a need to save time while texting or abbreviate long words or actions to save on character count. As most of us are aware, Twitter only permits Tweets to be 140 characters, which include spaces and punctuation.

As an example of how these acronyms and abbreviations have infiltrated our everyday language, the Oxford Dictionaries announced on Wednesday that they have added some of the words contained in this slide show to the dictionary, according to an article in Time

If you see any of the following acronyms as comments or replies to your posts on social media, now you’ll know what they mean. 



Laughter and other common actions:

1. LOLz, LOLZ, lolz, Lolz = Is the plural of LOL (Laughing Out Loud), but instead of having an “s,” people write it with a “z”. Some say its usage started in the leetspeak circles. Others say that when you write LOLz, it means you’re laughing out loud sarcastically.

2. OH = OverHeard. You’ll see tweets like “OH: Looks like it’s going to rain cats and dogs.”

3. HT, H/T or Via = Hat Tip or Heard Through. If it is a hat tip, it refers to when one gives thanks or acknowledges information or news to another user; used mostly by bloggers and “Via” is also used the same way. Heard Through is self-explanatory.

hat tip


4. SMH = Shaking My Head. Used in a post to express that something is embarrassing or to express disapproval. This is usually accompanied by an implied “tsk tsk.”

5. AFAIK = As Far As I Know

6. WBU = What About You?



Warnings and things learned:

7. CC = Carbon Copy. Although you will never physically use a “carbon copy” to be able to Tweet or write anything on the Web, this has the same usage as the “CC” on your emails: to make sure that a Twitter user sees your Tweet, used with the @ mention and their Twitter handle. 

8. ICYMI = In Case You Missed It. Usually employed when retweeting your own content from earlier or in lieu of “things you should know today” that can also be used to recap previous news.


9. IMHO or IMO = In My Humble Opinion or In My Opinion.

10. NSFW = Not Safe For Work. If you’re at work, you better NOT click on the link or a post that contains this acronym. It means that the link, photo, video or even the Tweet itself contains graphic or inappropriate content.

11. TIL = Today I Learned is a great way to share funny or interesting pieces of knowledge. For example: “TIL how annuities work.”

12. TL;DR or TLDR = Too Long; Didn’t Read. When you see a comment, post or Tweet with this, it means that the user didn’t completely read the article mentioned on the post and will comment or offer their opinion about it regardless. The user might also offer some sort of summary in a few words from what they did read. However, according to Mashable, it can also be used as a dismissive comment or insult.

13. W/ = With



Twitter technical slang:

14. MT = Modified Tweet. Way back before Twitter began, this meant “miss-tell” or “sorry, that post/tweet wasn’t meant for you.” Now, it is used when you are trying to retweet, but the tweet is too long and you have to edit or modify it.

15. RT = Retweet. It means forwarding a Tweet by another user. You need to include the user’s Twitter handle: “RT @CNN: A house is just a house, right?”


16. DM = Direct Message, or messages received in your private Twitter inbox. When Twitter began, you had to write DM @[Twitter user’s handle] at the beginning of a Tweet you wanted to send to someone privately. Now, you can send these directly from Twitter using the little envelope app or the desktop version. The DM letters are still used by some after you send them a direct message and they haven’t replied or if you wish to continue the conversation privately.



Irritating word abbreves and weekly events

17. Adorbs = Adorable. Usually said after totes (see below) and spoken by valley girls. For example: “OMG! That is totes adorbs!”

18. FF = Follow Friday is a sort of shout-out to people on Twitter, originally used for people who added a lot of value to your feed as a way to recommend them for others to follow them. It has become less popular.

follow friday

19. MM = Music Monday was originally used as a way to share the music you were listening to that Monday. It is not used as often anymore.

20. QOTD = Quote Of The Day. Could also be Quote Of The Week/Month/Year. This one is used when you hear a funny or interesting quote and you want to share it with the world.

21. Totes = Totally. Commonly used by teenage and valley girls alike. This word tends to irk most writers.

22. TBT = Throwback Thursday (also a hashtag). Usually accompanied by a photo of yesteryear, especially of when one was a baby, or in case of companies, old logos or scenes from the company’s beginnings.

23. WOTD = Word Of The Day. Could also be Word Of The Week/Month/Year.

24. YOLO = You Only Live Once. Usually anteceded by a comment that implies someone did something foolish because, you know, YOLO!

So, there you have it, a rundown of the most popular slang you’re likely to see on social media. If you have other acronyms that you think should make this list or that you want deciphered, please share them in the comments.  

See also:

Social-media lingo, Part 1

Social-media lingo, Part 2

Social-media lingo, Part 3

Social-media lingo, Part 4

Social-media lingo, Part 5


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