Slang of the Digital Natives

Back in the day

I was 16 years old. It final year of senior school in 1994 and our science teacher took us all to the library and showed us “the internet”. There was one computer, and it took more than 3 minutes to connect to a boring page with some text on it. “This is going to change the world!”, he exclaimed. “Ummmmm…. sure.”, the naïve 16-year old me thought.

In the pre-Y2K era that was my youth, we’d say things like “As if!” when questioning someone’s opinion, or “talk to the hand (‘cuz the face ain’t listening)” to tell someone to stop speaking, and “rad” if something was great.

But, now I’m old (apparently), and The Times They Are a-Changin (clearly), and some of the tech slang from the 90s that I’m reading while I research to write this post is stuff that I still find myself using frequently today (LOL)!

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“If a text falls in the forest…”

While we’re pondering the phenomenon of Schrodinger’s Text, that period of time when you send someone a text message and you’re not sure if they’re busy or ignoring you, or thinking about the perfect clapback for someone who wronged us, FOMO (fear of missing out) has essentially become the new norm.

As we may hate it, most of us likely have been guilty of phubbing (phone snubbing) while we’re out at a restaurant with our friends, colleagues, or loved ones. Restaurants and pubs have done all they can to help reduce this, but the reality is, we’re likely stuck with hearing about medical conditions like nomophobia (thinking your phone is ringing when it’s not) and text neck for the foreseeable future.

Some cities have evidently just given up and dedicated walking lanes for smartphone zombies as a way to combat the ever-growing number of walking injuries which continue to occur, while others have started fining people for their transgressions.


Be it SMS, WhatsApp, WeChat, or Facebook, there’s some fascinating and objectively hilarious text speak and web slang, to be sure, and a single post couldn’t come close to capturing the range and variations of it all; regardless of the language.

On any given TBT, we can classify things as NSFW while we avoid clickbait. We now hashtag our memes on Insta and RT the epic fails of the trolls, and it’s only going to expand in the years to come. On a side note, can I please suggest GDPR-phobia or policy rage!?!? These new pop-ups are driving me crazy!

Even with Twitter’s new 280-character limit, many are still sus (suspicious) of claims made by others without the correct receipts (evidence). JSUK, it all reminds me of TFW I wasn’t such a noob and thought I was truly the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) ?.

TIL that there’s an entire world of lingo that I had no idea existed. IMHO, I miss the days of snail mail and landlines; but at the same time, it’s gotten to the point where I get irritated (or downright worried) when people phone me before texting. (except when it’s my bae, of course)

If this was TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) it’s essentially all about a guy who feels old and probably needs a 16-year old to ELI5 (explain like I’m 5).

That’s ok though; when in doubt, there’s always a nice shruggie: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Scarica l’infografica “Il Vocabolario degli Acronimi”