What do you do when someone uses a word you’ve never heard before? Do you play along as though you understand, but as the person walks away, you quickly search for the word online? Anagrams, slang and hashtags used on the Internet or in text conversations aren’t always easy to figure out by context clues, but thankfully online slang dictionaries are here to help us keep up with the trendy web world.
1. Meme – The word is French for “same,” and if you use Facebook or Twitter, then you most likely have seen one. The original definition is an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture, and the word is now used in the web world to describe images or video clips, often sarcastic or silly, that are shared, modified and repeated again and again. Visit memebase.com for examples.
2. The Cloud – The imaginary place referred to when storing data, such as images, documents and video, in an online storage service so that the content is available from any device with an Internet connection. Since Karen uploaded her resume to the cloud, she was able to access the file on her smartphone and mail it a potential employer.
3. Hashtag – Although the term hashtag was around before Twitter, it’s now a common word, thanks to the social network. A hashtag is a string of characters with a “hash” or “pound” symbol before it and is used to connect tweets of the same topic. Unique hashtags can be a very successful way to keep up with people all around the world who are sharing thoughts and experiences. @aikenstandard tweeted: It’s a great day in South Carolina! #sctweets.
4. YOLO – Here we have a popular hashtag and meme that you may have heard if you listen to today’s hot music, and it may be the most overused word this year. It means “You only live once” and mostly serves as a motivator to try new things in life, but it is used also as an excuse for criminal or childish behavior. Are you ready to go skydiving? #yolo.
5. Troll, Trolling – When a person harasses an online user, either in a serious or joking manner, by taking part in a thread solely to disrupt the conversation or to get a reaction out of the trollee. Trevor only signs into YouTube to troll other commenters.
6. Photobomb – This is when something or someone in the background of an image or video clip takes the focus away from the main subject. Visit http://thisisphotobomb.memebase.com/ for examples.
7. Meatloaf – Email messages from friends and family that seems too much like spam. Examples include invites to buy a daily deal, asking you to join a website or some web task that benefits the sender.
8. Viral – When online content is shared via email and social networks that the popularity grows exponentially in a very short period of time. When a Youtube video gets several million hits within a few days because of the amount of people sharing the link with their friends, it has “gone viral.”
9. Pwned and n00b – The first is a way to say that someone has been “owned,” and that happens after someone is proven wrong or has been outperformed. The second word is a way to say “newbie” in a joking or demeaning manner about a person who is a beginner or isn’t as skilled at something.
10. Rick Rolled – This is a viral meme that can be used to troll someone – are you staying with me? – that took off in early 2008 and is still going strong. To Rick Roll someone is to link to the 1987 Rick Astley song “Never Gonna Give You Up” music video, and it happens when least expected. It’s a way to disrupt a serious or boring topic or only to just catch you someone guard. The link is often masked by using link shortener services like TinyURL or BitLy.
Stacey Mosier is the web content manager for the Aiken Standard and joined the staff in early 2011. She graduated from USC Aiken in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in visual arts.