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In social media, acronyms are both common and useful. They enable the delivery of complex messages with just a few keystrokes.
The real challenge is being able to recognize the litany of mismatched consonants, vowels, and numerals that comprise these acronyms.
Understanding social media acronyms plays an important role in your texting life. You will also find them being widely used in business meetings, sales and marketing reports, and—most notably—by anyone who works in IT. Before you get too frustrated by all the ICYMIs and IDKs, take a look at this list. Chances are in this list you will find the one that has been baffling you for the longest time.
Social Media Networks
For starters, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the acronyms that identify specific social media networks. When viewed in context, they are very intuitive.
- FB stands for Facebook.
- IG stands for Instagram.
- G+ stands for Google+.
- YT stands for YouTube.
- LI stands for LinkedIn.
There are a number of acronyms used regularly on Twitter that are helpful to know. Among them are:
- RT = “Retweet,” which is when you publish another user’s Tweet to your own Twitter feed.
- DM = “Direct Message,” or a message that is only visible to the individuals involved in the conversation.
- MT = “Modified Tweet,” and is used as a courtesy to inform of changes made when retweeting. For example, the tweet could have been shortened to meet the character limit or to remove the poster’s handle.
Business Social Media Acronyms
Businesses have always implemented its unique language, heavily built upon acronyms. Most of these aren’t specifically “social media acronyms.” Since they show up frequently on social media, you should know and understand them.
- B2B = “Business to Business,” referring to companies that market to other companies.
- B2C = “Business to Consumer,” describing a company that markets to individuals.
- CTA = “Call to Action”—a statement that encourages the reader to take action. It usually denotes a specific action that relates to maximizing a company’s social media presence, or facilitating a buying decision.
- CMS = “Content Management System”—a tool used to edit, schedule, and publish any kind of online written material.
- CPC = “Cost per Click,” defining the amount of money advertisers pay for each person who clicks to view an ad, or another piece of online content.
- PPC stands for “Pay per Click” and means the same thing as CPC.
- CPM = “Cost per Thousand,” which is tricky because the “M” is for the Latin “mil,” which means thousand.
- CTR = “Click-Through Rate,” and it is a certain type of conversion rate where the specific action is to click a link.
- UGC = “User Generated Content,” encompassing any and all visual or written content individuals create on a specific platform. This includes comments, blog posts, photos, video clips, and more.
- PV = “Page Views,” which is self-explanatory.
- ROI = “Return on Investment,” measuring the money made as a result of what was spent to make it.
While some of these do not frequently appear on social media, it is a good idea for anyone who works in social media to understand the relevant ones. These acronyms cover a broad range of business terms that could easily come up in a meeting or chat, particularly with your company’s IT team, or on a support ticket. In any event, you need to understand them, so here they are:
- RSS = “Really Simple Syndication,” describing a feed of all content posted from a specific source, primarily a blog.
- HTML = “Hypertext Markup Language.” This is the foundational coding language used in the development of webpages.
- ISP = “Internet Service Provider,” the company powering your Internet service and that of your employer’s.
- SEO = “Search Engine Optimization,” a type of Search Engine Marketing (SEM). It governs written content that is strategically developed to help a page rank higher in a search for specific criteria.
- UI = “User Interface,” the visual display a person uses to manipulate data in a program. The buttons on your cell phone screen are common examples of UI.
- TOS = “Terms of Service.” Nearly every website and online entity has one. It designates a set of rules that individuals must agree to, if they want to use the site or service.
- UX = “User Experience,” referring to someone’s reaction and response to utilizing online tools.
Fun Conversational Acronyms
Easily the largest and most diverse set of online acronyms, this a list that continually grows. The ones on this list are found most frequently in public posts or in comments on social content posts. We’re sure there are more, but these are the most common ones. Some have also become popular hashtags used by both brands and individuals to create a buzz.
- BFF = “Best Friends Forever.”
- BTW = “By the Way.”
- AFAIK = “As Far as I Know.”
- BAE = “Before Anyone Else.” This one is more recent, and refers either to someone’s significant other or a close friend.
- IDC = “I Don’t Care.”
- BRB = “Be Right Back.” This is often used to signify that someone has temporarily left a real-time chat or conversation.
- FTW = “For the Win,” and is a throwback to game shows like “Tic-Tac-Dough” where the phrase was commonly used by a contestant who had achieved a competitive advantage over his or her opponents.
- FYI = “For Your Information,” and predates the Internet.
- ILY = “I Love You.” Awww…
- ICYMI = “In Case You Missed It,” used most frequently when sharing a piece of content that is currently creating a buzz on social media.
- IMO = “In My Opinion.”
- IMHO = “In My Humble Opinion,” which cushions the IMO blow in certain conversations.
- NM = “Not Much.”
- NSFW = “Not Safe for Work” is used as a warning that the material behind a link contains language or content not suitable for the workplace.
- IDK = “I Don’t Know.”
- JK or J/K = “Just Kidding.” This one is particularly helpful in conveying the kind of light-hearted tone that can escape the grasp of communication via text.
- LOL = “Laughing Out Loud,” and is one of the oldest on the Internet. It has variations like LMAO (“Laughing My A** Off ”), ROFL (“Rolling on the Floor Laughing”), and even a merger of all three:
- ROFLMAO (Rolling on Floor Laughing My A** Off).
- IRL = “In Real Life” is used to distinguish between things that happen in the physical, as opposed to the virtual world.
- NBD = “No Big Deal.”
- NVM = “Never Mind.”
- OMG = “Oh My God” or “Oh My Gosh.”
- SMH = “Shaking My Head.” It is used most frequently to express emotions like frustration or dismay.
- TBT = “Throwback Thursday,” and is now very popular at the time of this writing. It precedes posts of old pictures, products, etc. mostly from the person’s own past.
- WTF = “What the F***.” Not terribly appropriate for work or business…
- YOLO = “You Only Live Once,” and has been popularized online by the Hip-Hop artist Drake in the last couple years.
Bear in mind that there are scores of other acronyms out there. Some are more intuitive than others. This list, however, is a great place to start becoming acquainted with the lingo, and developing an intuitive sense when you see acronyms that are unfamiliar.