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What is FTW?! New Acronyms Born From Social Media

By Edited Jan 23, 2016 3 5

It seems like only yesterday that acronyms like 'LOL' and 'BRB' went mainstream, pushed along by a new generation of tech-savie individuals too busy (or some would argue lazy) to spell out each. and. every. word. they. were. trying. to. say.  With the explosion of social media, we've become accostomed to 160 character updates to the point that anything longer gets barely more than a quick scan and roll of the eyes (however we all seem to have that relative who manages to tell 3-part stories about their day with their Facebook updates).
As we go towards the quicker hitting updates, there have been a number of new acronyms that have been brought into our everyday vocabulary.  Let's provide a quick recap into what they all mean, so you too can join in on the conversation. 
Please note that this list does not include some of the more common acronyms (OMG) that have been around for a while - LOL!

FTW- "For the Win"

One of my favorite new acronyms, it's hard not to think of this one being done in a Marv Albert voice

"LeBron James for the win...... YES!"
Commonly used in voting contests or to generally give oneself props, FTW has seem to have sprung up fairly recently and spread to the point where it wouldn't surprise me who was actually using the saying - opposed to many other acronyms on this list.
An example of FTW in context:

SMH - "Shaking My Head"

Oh SMH.  Also a fairly recent addition to the acronym vocabulary, SMH is used in situations where:
1) The poster (or someone they know) did something stupid
2) The poster is generally disgusted
3) Something unexpected has happened
The range of use here is also quite broad, but here are a couple of examples in context:

RT - "Retweet"

Once used almost exclusively on Twitter, RT has crept into the general vocabulary of social media, if only to signify that you should be paying attention or sharing the message that is being stated. 
However, the functionality to actually retweet something is still limited to one platform - for now.
Examples of this are as follows:

YOLO - "You Only Live Once"

While not exactly born from social media, YOLO has had an interesting history of being first used as a term in a reality show, to being brought mainstream by the rappper Drake.  Today, you're likely to see YOLO popping up everywhere, from people's status updates to t-shirts with Charlie Brown and Snoopy.
YOLO is generally used in the context of doing something a little crazy, pushing the boundaries, or acting stupidly in some way, shape or form.
A few examples of YOLO in context:

FML - "F&*$ My Life"

Probably the most dated acronym on this list, FML is generally used when someone is angry at the world, or having some issues.  It's a lot easier to say, and will typically come with less repercussions, depending on whether or not the audience has read this article :)
Examples include:
As social media continues to evolve, new acronyms will continue to pop up and spread.  While it may seem like a difficult task to keep up with every new saying that is trending, the internet has turned into a wealth of information to determine what something means, and why people are saying it. 
GL staying on top of the new trends, and let me know if there are any other interesting acronyms that you've heard recently below!




Jun 5, 2013 2:48am
Nice article on ACRONYMs.

Its too damn difficult to read mails / SMS from teens & kids these days since they abbreviate every other word. How about these acronyms ?

LMAO - Laughing My Ass Off
TGIF - Thank God Its Friday

These might already be mainstream & I might get to know these recently. Either way, nice idea for an article.

Thumbs Up.
Jun 5, 2013 4:50am
Thanks! Yes, I would definitely group those in the OMG and LOL category for their mainstream adoption :)
Jun 5, 2013 4:39am
Okay, not what I thought FTW meant (f*** the world).
Jun 5, 2013 4:51am
Well, in the biker world you'd be correct, but online it's a much cleaner meaning!
Aug 14, 2013 10:37am
Cant forget:
AFAIK - As Far As I know
AFK - Away from Keyboard
BRB - Be Right Back
FWIW - For What Its Worth
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