For the sake of this story, I’d like to invent a new acronym: IAVS, which means, “I am very sorry.”
The reason for the apology stems from a story I wrote last year, “28 Internet acronyms every parent should know.”
“Wouldn’t it be interesting to do a piece on the acronyms that teens are using across the Internet, especially on social media and apps, to help parents understand what, in fact, their kids are talking about?” I thought.
I consulted existing lists of Internet acronyms and talked with Internet safety experts. It seemed fine — until the story published and I received a wildly critical response on social media, often with language that I can’t include here.
My Twitter feed blew up with people saying I didn’t know what I was talking about and that teens weren’t using most of the acronyms on my list.
Here’s why I’m sorry: For that story, I never consulted with the true experts — teens, themselves.
I’m thankful to have a chance for a re-do, and this time I know we’ll get it right because our list comes straight from the social media posts of 13-year-olds around the country.
As part of a two-year investigation, #Being13: Inside the Secret World of Teens, Anderson Cooper and his “AC360” team connected with 200 eighth-graders at eight different schools around the United States. They, along with their parents and schools, gave CNN and two child-development experts permission to review what they were posting on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook over a six-month period.
The end result: 150,000 posts written by 13-year-olds. They speak volumes about how teens communicate and what impact social media has on their lives. (The CNN Special Report “#Being13: Inside the Secret World of Teens” airs at 9 p.m. ET Monday. Watch to find out the results of the first large-scale study of its kind on teens and social media.)
So what better way to know what acronyms and other shorthand teens, or in this case, 13-year-olds, use on social media than to scan their posts? Here are some of the more popular acronyms and sayings, from the innocent to the racy.
1. OOTD: Outfit of the day
2. KOTD: Kicks of the day — Typically refers to sneakers
3. HMU: Hit me up — Usually asking for someone’s Snapchat username, a phone number to text or for a direct message
4. Smash: I would have sex with you — A girl might post a provocative picture and a boy might write “smash.”
5. Cook session — When one or several teens gang up on another kid on social media
6. TBH: To be honest — A teen might post a picture of himself or herself and ask for a TBH, usually looking for positive responses.
7. TBR: To be rude — While TBH often leads to positive responses, TBR is usually followed by a negative response.
8. OOMF: One of my followers — A secretive way to talk about one of their followers without saying their name, such as “OOMF was so hot today.”
9. BAE: Baby — affectionate term for someone’s girlfriend, boyfriend etc.
10. WCW: Woman Crush Wednesday — A girl will post a picture of another girl she thinks is pretty, while guys will post pictures of girls they think are hot.
11. MCM: Man Crush Monday — Similar to Woman Crush Wednesday, but featuring pictures of men
12. BMS: Broke my scale — A way to say they like the way someone looks
13. RDH: Rate date hate — As in “rate me, would you date me, do you hate me?” A typical response might be “rate 10 date yes hate no” or “10/y/n.”
14. IDK: I don’t know
15. RN: Right now
16. KIK: Another social media app, Kik, that they want to communicate on
17. FML: F*** my life
18. AF: As f*** — A teen might tweet “mad af” or “you seem chill af.”
19. LMAO: Laughing my ass off
20. S/O or SO: Shout out
21. ILYSM: I like you so much or I love you so much
22. CWD: Comment when done — Similar to TBH, urging others to comment on their photo of whatever they’re posting
23. LOL: Laugh out loud — Yes, you’ll still find teens using LOL and OMG.