By Hayley Bogaard

More and more lately, I find myself typing out messages that read something like this:

“TBH, IDK if I really liked him LOL! SMH. Maybe I’ll like him better IRL. I’m heading out for drinks 2nite. WBU? TTYL xx”

Poetic really, isn’t it?

And like most high schoolers in a Hamlet recital, most of us just don’t get it. Today’s digital world moves so quickly, and with it comes new terminology, slang and in fact, a whole new dialect.

So how do we keep up? Well, for starters, Google is your best friend. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to Google a phrase or abbreviation before replying back to someone’s message and acting cool like I totally knew what they meant all along – who’s with me there?

But it’s not just the slang that sends people’s heads spinning. I am constantly met with confused, glazed expressions when using some of the basic terminology related to social media for your business. So let’s start with some of those terms and before you know it, you’ll be LOL-ing, WTF-ing and YOLO-ing like the best of them!


Algorithm is a scary word that describes the functions developed to control how a program operates. All social media platforms use them and they have a huge influence over the way in which we use social media. Have you ever noticed how you seem to just miss some posts in your newsfeed? Or posts from certain friends always seem to appear first? Well, you can thank the algorithms for that. It can make social media a really frustrating experience for businesses so make sure you speak to a social media manager who can guide you through it.


Engagement measures how many users are liking, commenting or sharing your content. This is important in measuring how relevant and accessible your content is to your audience. While many businesses are concerned only with how many followers they have, the true measure of a successful page is in fact the level of engagement on your content. An engaged audience is what converts to sales and profit.


I can’t tell you how many times I have asked a business for their social media handle, just to receive a blank stare in response. Your handle refers to your username on social media and generally starts with the @ symbol. For example


Ahhh the almighty hashtag. Simply, it is a word or phrase that is preceded by the # symbol. It is a powerful tool used to attract new followers, engagement and spread content. When it comes to promoting your business online, it is important to use the right hashtags, which is where a social media manager comes in. Next time you’re thinking of a new hairstyle, perhaps try searching #hairstyles on Instagram or Pinterest. You’ll be surprised at what you find.


Perhaps the greatest thing to be born of social media is the humble meme. While most of us know what a meme is, not many people can pronounce it. So to set the record straight, it is pronounced ‘meem’ and rhymes with team or beam. Not ‘me-me’ or ‘mem’ as I’ve often heard.


No, social media traffic is not related to selfies of people impatiently stuck in traffic jams but rather refers to the amount of users visiting your pages. The higher your traffic, the more chance of converting users into customers.


The number one tool in any Instagram star’s arsenal; filters change the colour, tone, light and exposure of an image to give it a new photographic effect. Choosing the right filter can be an agonising decision but if you get it right, you’re on the road to stardom. While the best filter is a hotly debated topic, my go-to filters are Claredon and Nashville.

So, armed with this valuable knowledge, go forth and prosper my social media butterflies. Remember, social media is a rapidly evolving world and it’s almost impossible to keep up – especially for businesses. If you need help getting on top of your social media, make sure to speak to a social media manager, who can sort your #hashtags from your @handles.

Master these social media slang terms so you can finally decipher that message from your teen or just start talking the talk.  

TBH – To be honest

IDK – I don’t know

LOL – Laugh out loud

SMH – Shaking my head

WBU – What about you?

TTYL – Talk to you later

BTW – By the way

OOTD – Outfit of the day

ICYMI – In case you missed it


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