Adopting Internet Slang

I speak two languages: English and internet. And by internet, I don’t mean binary code or HTML/CSS, I mean internet speak. All the terms and slang that has developed and is used all over. “Fleek”, “finna”, “wig”, “BDE”, “had to do it to ’em”…the list goes on and on. The terms are used usually for comedic effect because there is an understanding that most of these words aren’t professional and sophisticated. So we use them in a funny Twitter reply or in a roast or something. Comprehending these new words and phrases isn’t hard, but I can see how someone not as well read online can have no clue what they mean. Even I have to occasionally pull up Urban Dictionary to make sure I’m on the same page.

Like a meme, (heck, some of the slang basically is a meme itself), it can be hard to figure out where the slang came from. Who was the first person to say “mans” and how did so many people take to it? I think it’s impressive. It’s been said that a lot of internet slang and terms (and some real life slang) come from black culture, which I believe. But whether that’s always the case or not, they eventually get spread around so far so fast and used by everyone and anyone. Even me.

street slang gif.

The thing about my use, though, is that I didn’t choose to. I didn’t one day say “I will now begin using ‘stan’.” I just saw it over and over and over online that it seeped into my personal vocabulary, so now, when I’m at curling and someone makes a really good shot, my first thought is “wow, we stan” which is SO DUMB and I know this, but I can’t seem to stop. I don’t say it out loud, but maybe that’s only because most of the curlers playing with me are my parents’ age and I guarantee none of them would have clue what it’d mean. I guess I do it for my own inner comedic dialogue in a sport where there’s not a lot of time for outer conversation.

Anyway, I’ve noticed that any goofy internet slang I do use in my mind or online started ironically. I knew it was goofy and used it mockingly because it was a silly thing to say in life and I wanted a quick chuckle. I just don’t know where or when or how it became not ironic. And this isn’t just exclusive to slang or new words like ‘yeet’. I find myself also saying regular things slightly differently in loose reference to other things online. Like how John Mulaney says “okay” in that one Delta Airlines bit but says it like “OW-KAAAAY!” Or when the guy in the freezable fruit shapes Vine says in a very clear tone “I do not.” Yeah, I do that. I sometimes feel like my whole personality is lowkey based on things other people said on the internet.

who have I become gif.

The good news is, I’m apparently not alone. I found this old video from YouTuber Tiffany Ferg, and it’s nice to know that someone as educated and eloquent as her also does it too (side note: her Internet Analysis videos are always really well done and interesting).

I just think it’s interesting to think about the weird words we use and how they got into our vocabulary, either online or in real life. I think it’s cool that the internet has connected us so much that these random and fun new words and phrases can become so important and interesting. Of course, that’s not to say I am adopting or even a fan of all the words. I strongly dislike a lot of internet slang, including but not limited to:

  • bae
  • lil
  • mans
  • finna
  • thot
  • litty
  • smol
  • issa

What online-based words have you found yourself using or do you hate slang trends?

 

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Defining Friendships Today

Here I go again, blogging about friendships. I promise I’m not here this time to have a moan, and I will try to keep things somewhat positive. I just want to have a discussion. As I think a lot of young adults do, I contemplate the state of my friendships. I have some friends I see fairly often in person because we live near each other. I have some friends I don’t live near but we still communicate fairly regularly. I have some friends I don’t really talk to that often, but I’d be game to hang out any time, though I’m aware of the fact that for some, we never will and eventually the friendship will end. I have some friends I only know through the internet. And then I have some acquaintances.

For me personally, I separate friends from acquaintances/strangers/people I know of based on a mutual voluntary willingness to interact on one’s own time. When I was in university and on the Quidditch team, I one day said something during a conversation at practice like, “oh, I don’t have many friends” and then someone pointed out, “well there’s like fifteen of us here; what are we?” I replied that they were mostly acquaintances. No one was on the team because they personally liked me. They were there because they wanted to play Quidditch and would be doing so regardless of if I was there or not. Showing up to the same practices I do does not count as friendship to me if I never interacted with them outside of those few hours of structure and we never were particularily close while there anyway. I got razzed for this belief for the rest of the year, but I do stand by it (though I probably shouldn’t have said it).

i said what i said gif.

In the blogosphere, I often see tweets asking “Are we Instagram friends yet?” accompanied by a link to the person’s Insta account, and that lowkey bothers me. I’m not hating on anyone who does this, but I personally don’t think that following someone on Instagram counts as friendship, and even throwing out the option of that is ridiculous because it’s so unlikely. There are more genuine ways to garner followers, I think, than pretending you’re building meaningful relationships. Because to me, that’s what a friend is: a meaningful relationship.

Everybody wants friends and everybody likes friends, but friendship and how we approach it has changed a lot in the past few years. Because of social media, it’s easier to keep up with people far away, but is liking a post enough to maintain friendships? Sometimes I’ll see a tweet like “I don’t care if we haven’t talked in a year, you can call me and we’ll be the exact same as we were, I love friendships like that!” Is this sentiment true for you, because I don’t know how I’d react if some person I haven’t talked to in a year for no reason showed up and tried to pretend nothing changed.

It’s interesting that the media puts so much emphasis on having one close friend group. From Friends to The Bold Type to even Supergirl, Blindspot, and The Big Bang Theory, these ‘squads’ of close, family-like friends are seen as the ultimate goal of life. Find your tribe, and all that, which is great, but I think most people don’t have that. Most people have friends from various points of their in life. But shows like Friends rarely show other friends who are just as loved but not living in the same city or part of the squad or whatever.

FRIENDS.

Though interestingly enough, the people these shows are targetting seem to have neither. There are a bunch of articles stating that though Millenials/Gen-Z are the most connected, we’re also the loneliest. Is this because the friend focus is being put on the wrong people? Or because we’re content with a just few Likes? Or because we’re too poor to actually go hang out with friends? Or because we don’t know how to talk to people?

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t thrive in a lot of social settings. I sometimes have trouble talking to new people and I do fear that I’ll never make more close friends because everyone knows that making friends as an adult is hard. That’s why I’m even more grateful for the friends I do have now. I’m so glad we voluntarily interact and lift each other up and laugh together.

As much as we’d all like a squad of our own, it’s more important to cherish the friends you have and ensure that those relationships are as strong and healthy as you want them to be, even if they’re not Instagram-perfect. Don’t be fooled into thinking follower count = friend count, unless you choose to define it that way and are content with that.

squad goals gif.
The Squirtle Squad is the only valid squad

How do you define friendship and what do you think about the media’s portrayal of friendships?

 

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