- The short story of a brief dictionary of digital terms and how to get your free copy
We’ve all been there. The moment when the conversation veers to some phrase or cluster of letters that everyone else except you seems to understand. Depending on your audience, do you laugh and nod as if you know what they are talking about, swiftly change the subject, or surreptitiously tap the words into a search engine when no-one is looking?
You probably know YOLO and eventually realised that LOL was laugh out loud and not lots of love (which it used to be!), maybe you know NIMBY, BAE or IMHO, but what about LA, KYC, ICYMI or IO? It’s impossible to know everything, but with more and more acronyms in common usage at work, are you keeping up or even keeping pace? Maybe you deal with it by going AWOL, throwing shade or ROLF.
Indeed, you may not realise that some words are acronyms at all, so completely they have been swallowed by the English language, such as SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus), TASER (Thomas A. Swifts Electric Rifle), RADAR (Radio Detection and Ranging), IMAX (Image Maximum) or SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics). Some acronyms such has TAG have up to as many as 129 different meanings.
Industrialisation of the military in the 1940’s was a major driver of acronyms into the English vocabulary – largely because of new technologies and complicated names, but abbreviations have moved apace since then. People want to communicate and be understood with the minimum of effort and we do this by fitting as much text as possible into as small a space as possible, by pressing the least number of buttons that we can. One emoji now paints a picture and the urban dictionary is constantly evolving.
These days, you need to know your IRL from your HTML, but if you don’t, integrated communications agency McConkey Associates can help you out with that. They have put together a brief dictionary of digital terms to shine a light for those of us who need a bit of enlightening, so are you literate in contemporary shorthand?
If you aren’t sure about your MFA, CSS, API, DSP or SSP, get a free copy of ‘Know Your WTF from Your NSFW: A brief dictionary of digital terms’ from McConkey Associates by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Please state whether you’d like a soft or hard copy and include your name, email and postal address.