The Ultimate Guide to Digital Lingo

Digital transformation has had such a radical impact on so many areas of our day to day lives. Not only are the ways in which we entertain ourselves vastly different than they were just a couple of decades ago, our communication processes are too. Technology is changing the way we communicate, access and share content, which can be quite overwhelming to anyone who’s not a teenager in 2024!

From the quick-paced chat rooms of multiplayer games to indecipherable hashtags on social networking platforms, the verbiage of niche online subcultures is now very much integrated in the mainstream. If you’re stuck not knowing your FOMO from your frame rates, this article will bring you right up to date with the world’s rapidly evolving digital lexicon.

Communication in the Digital Age

As global corporations like Meta and ByteDance seek to outdo each other in the digital space, none of today’s most relevant digital trends would be relevant at all if it weren’t for the internet. The World Wide Web hasn’t just connected everyone to a digital information superhighway, it’s also fundamentally reshaped our hobbies and communication channels.

For instance, it wasn’t all that long ago that the Mega Drive classic game console represented the pinnacle of technological innovation. Fast forward a few years and, thanks to the advent of broadband internet, gamers from all over the world are able to congregate and converse while playing some pretty epic games.

Similarly, who’d have thought that social media would’ve exploded quite as rapidly as it has? Now, platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok are ubiquitous, and have introduced a whole bunch of acronyms, abbreviations and slang terms into everyday language. Plus, the rapid spread of internet-specific trends like memes, trending topics and even viral challenges has accelerated the adoption of new words and phrases.

Getting to Grips with Gaming Lingo

Whether you were once a keen gamer in the golden age of the console, or you’re completely new to it, gaming in the digital age does come with a whole new lingo. Understanding gaming lingo can be quite daunting for newcomers, but if you really want to become part of the global gaming community, it’s something you need to get to grips with.

Here’s a dive into what the most common gaming terms you’ll encounter actually mean!

General gaming terms

  • Noob/Newbie: beginner or inexperienced player.
  • Pro: a highly-skilled player.
  • AFK (Away From Keyboard): indicates that a player has stepped away from the game.
  • GLHF (Good Luck, Have Fun): a friendly greeting used at the start of multiplayer encounters.
  • GG (Good Game): shows sportsmanship to fellow players at the end of a game.
  • PWN/OWN: to dominate or defeat an opponent.
  • Griefer: A player who deliberately irritates and harasses others.

Gaming Genres

  • FPS (First-Person Shooter): genre of combat games where players experience the action through their character’s perspective.
  • RPG (Role-Playing Game): a universally-popular genre where players control different characters and engage in narrative-driven adventures.
  • MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game): an RPG that involves multiple players.
  • MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena): another combat genre, in which players control characters and participate in team-based tasks and combat.
  • RTS (Real-Time Strategy): a challenging genre that requires gamers to manage resources and command units in real-time.

Tech Terminology

  • Beta: a game-testing phase where the title is almost complete but needs player feedback or bug fixing.
  • Easter Egg: hidden features within a game.
  • Frame-Rate: a frame-rate dictates the number of images generated by a gaming system every second. Most games today need to be played in 30, 60 or 120 fps (frames per second)
  • HUD (Heads-Up Display): the on-screen interface in a game that details important information.
  • Lag: the delay between a player’s action and the game’s response.
  • Patch: a software update that fixes bugs, improves gameplay, or adds new content.

Social Media Slang

Social media’s just for Gen Z, right? Actually, being active on social media is now something that nobody with career goals, an entrepreneurial spirit or even a need to connect with a community can afford to miss out on. The trouble is, these platforms are seemingly buzzing with unique slang and acronyms, while the ever-growing internet culture is creating a continuous flow of new words and phrases.

Take a look at the glossary below before you open Instagram or TikTok and you’ll soon feel right at home.

Popular Acronyms

  • LOL (Laugh Out Loud): indicates laughter as a response to something funny.
  • OMG (Oh My God): expresses surprise or disbelief
  • TBH (To Be Honest): used before giving an honest opinion.
  • SMH (Shaking My Head): expresses disbelief or disappointment.
  • TBT (Throwback Thurs/Tuesday): also used as a hashtag used when sharing old photos or memories, usually on Thursdays or Tuesdays.

Expressions and Phrases

  • Bae (before anyone else): a term of endearment for a partner or close friend.
  • Clapback: a witty reply to criticism or insult.
  • FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) – anxiety that others are having more fun or experiencing something better.
  • Ghosting: cutting all communication with someone without an explanation.
  • Stan: a combination of “stalker” and “fan” indicating overzealousness.
  • YOLO (You Only Live Once): used to justify doing something adventurous/risky

Platform-Specific Slang

  • Bio: the short description on a user’s profile page.
  • Duet: a TikTok feature in which users can create videos alongside another user’s content.
  • FYP (For You Page): the main feed where TikTok recommends videos to users.
  • IG: Instagram.
  • Subtweet: an X (formerly known as Twitter) post that alludes to another user without directly naming or mentioning them.
  • Tag: hyperlinks a user to another user’s content on Instagram or Facebook.
  • Thread: a series of connected X posts from one user.