CNN Special Report #Being13 analyzed 150,000 social media posts of 13-year-olds
Acronyms or slang teens used ranged from innocent to racy
Editor’s Note: Kelly Wallace is CNN’s digital correspondent and editor-at-large covering family, career and life. Read her other columns, and follow her reports at CNN Parents and on Twitter. Watch a CNN Special Report, “#Being13: Inside the Secret World of Teens,” on CNNgo.
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.