The ultimate internet glossary: from 4chan to Zynga
Know your lolz from your lulzsec, and your belfies from your selfies? Hannah Jane Parkinson is here to help with an almost definitive list of digital geekery
The Guardian September 15, 2014
4chan has been in the news recently, as the site that hosted hacked photographs of naked celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence (you may have heard about this). But what is 4chan? Well, basically, it’s an aesthetically-ugly-as-sin image board which allows users to post pretty much anything. It was started by a teenage boy in his bedroom (obviously), originally as a means of sharing manga and anime.
Nowadays there are various boards dedicated to: gaming, porn, cosplay, and more porn. 4chan is pretty much a destination for trolls, lulz-seekers and fapping idiots, given that everybody posts anonymously. To be fair, there are also boards on fashion and music, and lolcats did originate on 4chan – so at least there’s one redeeming thing about it.
2048 – widely successful sliding block puzzle game for web, iOS and Android
2 Girls 1 Cup – something you should never ever watch, and definitelyNSFW. I’m not even linking to it. Do not Google.
404 – a not found error, when server cannot find content (eg. dead link, page deleted)
501 – not implemented error, for instance if a server is not responding or overloaded
9GAG – platform for uploading and sharing user-made memes, gifs, images and videos, upvoted or downvoted and can be commented upon
Is there anything there isn’t an app for? Whatever operating system you are using, there will be tons of apps to download for your smartphone. Useful, entirely frivolous, well designed, badly designed, addictive games, fitness trackers – you name it.
Apps perfectly complement the web; lots of us access the internet more frequently by phone than desktop, especially when it comes to social media. And what did we do without Google Maps on our phones? How did we ever find our way anywhere? Did we all just end up in some poor dear’s garden when looking for an unfamiliar bus route while slightly worse for wear on a Saturday night? (Yes.)
Advice Dog – the original advice animal, consists of a cute puppy head on colourwheel background, giving advice that is either wrongheaded, ridiculous or unethical
Angry Birds – Finnish-designed video game which has flown off the app store shelves (over 12 million downloads on iOS). Gameplay in the original title consists of using a slingshot to fire wingless birds at pigs. There have been nine more incarnations
anime – 2D or 3D cartoon style originated in Japan, very popular online. Can be hand drawn or computer drawn
AnonIB – image board similar to 4chan, frequented by hackers and trolls
Anonymous – a vague network of hacktavists often in the news for theirDDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks and trademark Guy Fawkes masks. The loosely-organised collective originated on 4chan around 2003. Anonymous have targeted corporations such as Visa, as well as criminals such as child pornographers. Anonymous tend to differ from another hacking collective, LulzSec, by performing their attacks for political, activist reasons.
AOL – American multinational dealing in media, tech, online and digital
API – acronym for application programming interface. Essentially a set of code, tools and protocols which provide instructions for applications to communicate with one another. Basically APIs make your life easier byallowing programs to talk to one another
Apple – electronics and computing multinational responsible for iEverything
Ask.com – formerly Ask Jeeves, it’s a question-formatted search engine. Jeeves was most popular in the late 90s, when for a little while its butler mascot was sort of the face of the internet. If you haven’t guessed that he was based on PG Wodehouse’s character then you need to spend less time on the internet and more time reading books
avatar – graphical representation of an individual eg. in games, a character. On social media: an icon or profile picture
When something internet-related makes it as a plot line on The Good Wife, you know it’s really hit the mainstream. Bitcoin is a crypto-currency, which circumnavigates banks and credit card companies. A bitcoin is transferred from person to person via the internet. Bitcoins are bought and sold and kept in a digital wallet to avoid the double spending problem. But if that all seems a bit opaque, just watch our handy explainer, below.
badboy2 – internet meme started when a user posted a photo on a body-building forum captioned “I’m 18, do I have potential?” – cue humorous, good natured photoshops galore
Bad Luck Brian – meme started in 2012, featuring a teen in plaid sweater vest and braces, befalling a series of embarrassing situations
Bebo – social network founded in 2005. Currently trying to make a comeback
beta – in technology terms, beta is a term used to describe a trial-and-error period of a product or service, or a prototype before the fully realised thing
belfie – “a bum selfie” ie. a self-portrait of one’s butt. *headdesk*
bit – a bit, short for binary digit, is the smallest unit of information in a computer
BitTorrent – a service that speeds up downloads by breaking files up between fellow users. It is an original torrent protocol supporting P2P data and file sharing. “Torrent” means a file that contains metadata; protocol is a format or set of rules for sharing data across networks, and P2P here means peer-to=peer
bounce rate – the bounce rate is a measure in traffic analysis which describes whether users leave the site straight away after visiting, or stay on the site. So the bounce rate is a percentage of people who only view one page
brb – acronym meaning “be right back”
Buffer – web and mobile app to manage social networks, especially scheduled posting
bump – to revisit an old thread or posting on a forum by posting in it, thus “bumping” it to the top (especially employed if you receive no answer)
Clickbait is the media’s new obsession. Sometimes called linkbait, the word “clickbait” describes online content which is judged to be mostly lighthearted, less than robust and primarily focused towards hoovering up traffic. Basically, clickbait is geared towards getting people to click through to an article.
Headlines therefore attempt to respond to the “curiousity gap” a reader experiences when they see a headline which doesn’t explain the full context of a story, but does pique the reader’s interest enough for them to click. This can either be an intriguing statement or a question. Positive, feel-good stories are also a big part of clickbait, as are CAPITAL letters and exclamation marks!!!
Buzzfeed, and especially Upworthy, have pioneered the clickbait-y content and title type. Upworthy’s headlines, while at first interesting just for their novelty factor, have since become so annoying that it is estimated at least 17 people a week are killed being hit by computers thrown from windows in a rage. (“Click Here to Find Out the Strange Way 17 People Died This Week.”) Clickbait’s ultimate aim is to be shared, shared again ie. GO VIRAL.
Candy Crush Saga – tile-matching based game originally developed for Facebook, then mobile OS (operating systems). Often found on the Northern Line
CAPTCHA – those squiggly, distorted letters or digits one is required to type to prove humanness
chain emails – horrible period of the 90s when bored office workers would send round robins of multicoloured comic sans messages or begging letters from parents with Münchausen by proxy
Chatroulette – a chat website which pairs users randomly via their webcams. Created by a Russian 17-year-old, features a lot of masturbating men
Chrome – web browser developed by Google
Clickhole – parody clickbait site from the people behind The Onion
clearnet – what people who use hidden internet applications call the regular net, also known as the “surface web”. The clearnet is indexed by search engines
cloud – file storage where data is spread across several servers and locations, often accessed via the internet
cookies – data sent from a website to a user’s web browser. It is a way for websites to record and stores users’ activity on that website
Courage Wolf – advice animal meme giving inspirational, but extreme, advice
cyberbullying –when idiots think it is ok to bully people online – most victims being kids in high school – via social networks and messaging apps
The meme which took the world by storm towards the end of 2013, and had us all chasing our tail in early 2014 about what the hell it all meant. Doge is the best kind of meme in that it shouldn’t be funny, but it is.
“It involves superimposing broken English written in multi-coloured Comic Sans on to pictures of shiba inus, a small Japanese breed of dog known for its spirited stubbornness”, explains Alex Hern.
It’s a rare example of a dog leading a meme, as opposed to the much more internet-friendly cat (as explained here by Buzzfeed’s Jack Shepherd). Doge became such a staple of internet culture that it inspiredDogecoin (a variation of Bitcoin), which has so far funded a Jamaican bobsleigh team and a rally car in the NASCAR race. Such impressive. Very wow.
Daatch – mobile dating app for lesbian women
dark internet – network hosts on the internet that are unreachable, often confused with deep web. Dark internet is a subsection of the deep web
DAUs – “daily active users” of a website or internet product
Death Clock –popular website in the 90s predicting one’s date of death, according to their date of birth (bullshit, naturally)
deep web – uses hidden internet apps to protect one from web crawlers and maintain privacy given search engines cannot access this content
DDoS – distributed denial of service attack, used by hackers to down a network, often by causing server overload. “Distributed” means the attack is coming from multiple machines
devianART – online community to share user-made artwork
Disapora – a nonprofit social network consisting of interconnected pods
Digg – a news aggregator website for sharing popular content
DM – short for direct message, as on Twitter
dog shaming – viral trend consisting of people taking pictures of their dogs next to handwritten signs detailing their dogs’ indiscretions
doxing – dumping a load of someone’s personal data online. The people who do this are the worst
Draw Something – social drawing game originally developed for mobile, in which players guess what a friend has sketched. Bought by Zynga for $180 million
Dropbox – service offering cloud storage and file synchronisation across mulitple platforms
Oh wow; the amount of time/money/stress we’ve all expended on ebay. Who hasn’t found themselves staring at a screen at 2am, lightly dusted in Doritos crumbs, furiously refreshing the page to see if theirs is the winning bid on that original Spice Girls cassette from 96? Or constantly refreshing, sweating, hopin’ and a-prayin’ that someone outbids you, because you’ve blown your wages on a “french shabby chic armchair’” which is bigger than the actual square footage of your flat?
The arrival of eBay’s app has just exacerbated this problem. Since eBay (originally called AuctionWeb) was founded in 1995, the following items have been listed for sale: F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet, Britney Spears’ hair, New Zealand, Nicolas Cage as a vampire, a ghost in a jar, and, er, the meaning of life.
egosurfer – person who Googles themselves or otherwise displays self-obsessed behaviour online
email – things you should never answer when on holiday
encryption – encoding information so that only authorised peeps can see it
emoticon – :-) :-( :-/ :-O :-s <3
One day it will take off, a film might possibly be made of its origins, with a supporting role for Justin Timberlake. In an ideal world, it’d be floated on the stock market for $38 dollars a share, with a company value of $104 billion. Unfathomably, Zuckerberg will become a fashion icon for his navy hoodies and pool sliders, inspiring a whole new style called normcore. Then, people will start posting annoying statuses on the site, sharing boring links, and grandparents will join, driving you – weeping – into the arms of Twitter.
fanfiction – stories about fictional characters, often written in online fanfic communities and forums. Harry Potter and Twilight prove very popular
Farmville – online game developed by Zynga, in which users tend to a virtual farm
fav – the option to “favourite’ a tweet”, can be used for bookmarking, or as way of saying “I like this but not enough to retweet it, soz”
feed – data format which provides constantly updated content (Twitter and Facebook use these, for example)
Feedly – a popular news aggregation app for both web and mobile
ffs – acronym meaning “for fuck’s sake”
FF – a hashtag employed on Twitter, only on Fridays, to highlight good accounts to follow (stands for “follow Friday”)
First World Problems – meme focusing on irritants and complaints from privileged people, otherwise known as “white whine”
Flappy Bird – hugely popular side-scrolling 2D game for mobile devices
Flickr – popular image and video hosting website with a social element, now also for mobile. Used by professionals as well as amateurs
Flipboard – a “personal magazine app” which aggregates articles and news into a magazine-like format on mobile devices
fml – acronym for “fuck my life”, used in a humorous context when things go wrong
Foursquare – search-and-discover mobile app, allows users to review destinations and places and leave comments, resulting in personalised recommendations
Friends Reunited – one of the first popular “social networks”, Friends Reunited is still going, connecting high school sweethearts everywhere (in the UK)
ftw – acronym for “for the win”
fwm – acronym for “fuck with me”
Gifs have acquired a bad rep, namely because people who don’t likeBuzzFeed and other gif-reliant sites get fed up with them, but the truth is gifs are awesome. That the whole range of human emotions can be captured in a moving image around 2MB in size is a wonderful thing indeed. Or – as below – a raccoon stealing cat food from directly under the nose of a cat.
There’s also some controversy (or should that be contro-versy) as to how gif is actually pronounced. The inventor of the gif has gone on record saying that it is “gif” with a soft g. So naturally 99% of us have decided to pronounce it gif with a hard g.
Gchat – chap application within Gmail (Google’s email application) which gets us all through the working day
GeoCities – a web hosting service currently owned by Yahoo! which was home to many shoddy user-built websites in the 90s, grouped in “cities”
Giphy – one of the best gif databases around
Good Guy Greg – advice animal meme which consists of a photo of a smiling guy smoking a marijuana joint, characterised by kind or genuine acts and behaviour
Google – never heard of it. Anybody?
Google+ – Google’s social network which, at the last count, had three active users
Gramfeed – an app which uses Instagram’s API to pull together images on the social network by location, user, or time and date
Grooveshark – free radio and music streaming website. Copyright violations led to its app incarnation being removed from Google Play and Apple’s app stores
Grumpy Cat – famous internet cat with a perma-grumpy appearance, is all of our spirit animal
Back in the olden days a hash symbol was just a neglected button on your landline phone. Now, a hashtag is an inherent part of how we communicate online. A hashtag is the simplest form of metadata tag which allows users on social networks (in particular Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) to categorise their posted content into subject matter or topic, and allows other users to search for these. Essentially, hashtags act as signifiers (shout out to Roland Barthes).
In 2014, the term was added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Hashtags can be used at the beginning of posts, mid-post, or at the end. It doesn’t really matter – as long as they’re not 134 characters long in a 140-character limited tweet, which is just annoying. Trending hashtags can be related to pop culture subjects, or be utilised for more political purposes. Mostly though, they’re just about 5SOS or One Direction.
Habbo Hotel – now known as Habbo, HH was an online hangout for teens allowing users to create their own avatars and socialise in an online “hotel” and hotel rooms. As a former user, I’ve only just realised how dodgy a concept this is
hacktivism – the use of hacking and other computer processes for political ends
headdesk – portmanteau slang to describe slamming your head on your desk in frustration and/or disbelief, usually at someone else’s stupidity
hmu – acronym meaning “hit me up” ie. get in touch with me
Hootsuite – social media management dashboard
Hyperlapse – time-lapse video app for mobile, developed by Instagram
hyperlink – a normal link, basically. (Some people like to sound clever)
Often disparaged because of the number of people using the social mobile photography app to take pictures of their lunch, the main concern here should be how Instagram is fucking with future historians.
How will the Dan Snows of 2050 be able to tell when pictures were taken, if they’re all a mixture of sepia, 70s grain and washed-out hues? Basically, 2014 will look the same as 1972 through the lens of Instagram (ok, so pictures have time and date stamps, but ssh, you know what I mean).
Of course, the truth is Instagram is rather a charming app which has brought easy, fun and quick photography to the masses, murdering the point-and-shoot market in cold blood. Plus, everybody’s life looks better inEasybird. Instagram now also supports video function, and was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion in 2012.
ice bucket challenge – 2014 viral campaign to raise awareness of motor neurone disease, via celebrities pouring buckets of ice-cold water onto their heads
IM – short for instant message
Imgur –pronounced “imager” – but I still say it “imger” – the site curates images and sorts them relative to popularity. They often end up going viral on reddit
Impact font – the font of choice for advice animals and many memes
Indiegogo – crowdfunding site founded in 2008
infographic – pictorial representation of data and information often used online
IRL – acronym for “in real life” ie. offline
j/k – online slang for just kidding, joke or joking
Justin.tv – was a website for allowing users to stream video online, separated into channels, closed in August 2014
Justpaste.it – web text and image sharing service, recently in the news due to its popularity amongst Islamic State fighters as a means for propagandising
Kickstarter was kickstarted in 2009. Along with Indiegogo andPledgeMusic, KickStarter is a crowdfunding website, which hosts projects people need money to fund, and allows backers to donate in fixed amounts in return for something in relation to the project (ie. the finished product, tickets, memorabilia etc). For instance: if one was funding a film, backers might receive a DVD of the film, or premiere tickets, or a poster, depending on how much they donated.
Creators have up to 60 days to raise the money they need (but at present can only be from Ameirca, UK, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand or Australia; backers can be from anywhere). Projects fall into 13 categories, including: Art, Film and Video, Fashion and Technology. Significant projects have included the Coolest Cooler which is the most funded project ever ($13 million); Crystal Bacon, a strap-on beard, a Doctor Who rap album, and a potato salad which rasied over $55,000.
Kik – a message app for mobiles, popular with young people, which has a built-in browser
Kim Kardashian: Hollywood – game for mobile OS featuring the reality star, which inexplicably took the world by storm in the spring of 2014
KnowYourMeme – your source for absolutely everything meme-related
Lil’ Bub is the most famous kitty on the internet after Grumpy Cat. Grumpy Cat might be quite grumpy that Lil’ Bub gets her own entry, while she was relegated to a footnote, but such is the power of the gif. Lil’ Bub was born with several genetic mutations; she has no teeth, her tongue permanently hangs out, and she is also polydactyl. Most importantly, however, she is cute as a button.
lamebooking – writing the most yawn-inducing, boring crap on Facebook
LimeWire – was a free P2P file sharing site, mostly used for downloading music. It is currently subject to a court-ordered injunction relating to copyright infringement
LinkedIn – a business-orientated social network, so no pics of drunk mates
lmao – “laughing my arse off” ie. you find something funny
LMGTFY– a brilliant site called “Let me Google that for you”. When people ask you questions which they should just Google themselves ffs,send them this link
Lockerz – was an e-commerce startup which allowed users to browse content, and in doing so, earn points which resulted in discounts
lolz – variation on the above
LulzSec – a hacker group which claimed to have downed the CIA website. LulzSec mostly did not hack for profit or political purposes, rather just for “the lulz”; to cause mayhem, essentially, and expose big corporations’ poor security
Lycos – search engine and service provider encompassing hosting, email, site building, blogging. It has a cute black labrador as its brand ambassador
The web, much to everybody’s surprise – and especially to the surprise of traditional newspapers and media outlets – has become a home for high quality long-form jounalism. There are many beautifully designed online-only publications out there, combining the best writing with stunning photography.
One of the most interesting is Medium. Created by the guys behindBlogger, Medium is a wonderfully handsome platform for writers (any writer) to write long pieces on any subject. It also has a social element, allowing writers to open their work up to others during the editing process.Matter is a magazine hosted by Medium.
Matter – a magazine collection hosted by Medium
MegaUpload – was a company founded by Kim Dotcom. It was shut down by the US DoJ due to its file-sharing and hosting activities, particularly Megavideo. Dotcom has since established a successor calledMega
meme – image, video, text – mostly humorous – that is spread, copied, added to, and makes its merry way around the internetz
MemeGenerator – a web and mobile app allowing users to create memes
Miaow – new randomised message app for mobile, including chatrooms and one-one-one chat, mostly flooded with porn
the Million Dollar Homepage – some jammy kid created a page selling advertising space and became a millionaire back in 2005
MSN messenger – RIP. A fondly remembered web-based IM application for kids slinging their bags down at 5pm and firing up the dial-up to chat to friends they’d literally spent the whole day with and parted from less than an hour ago
MySpace – It’s still going. The social network which peaked between 2005-2008 is now part-owned by Justin Timberlake. It was where the selfie first birthed (complete with outstretched arm, pout, side-fringe)
There’s something about Nicolas Cage that just makes him perfect meme material. Perhaps it’s his over-the-top acting style, or his woebegone facial expression, or his low, confused mumble, or the fact he’s lovably weird – nobody really knows. But Nicolas Cage was basically made for the internet. He’s even aware of it himself. In a 2013 interview with the Guardian, he said:
The internet has developed this thing about me – and I’m not even a computer guy, you know? I don’t know why it is happening. I’m trying not to… lemme say this: I’m now of the mindset that, when in Rome, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
One of the greatest Nic Cage things on the internet is Best Scenes from the Wicker Man, a montage of brilliantly over-acted clips from the 2006 remake. Then there’s Nic Cage as everyone, and his turn at Your Argument is Invalid. Oh, and the time a woman emailed a covering letter for a job and instead of attaching her CV, accidentally attached this photoof Nicolas Cage instead.
nailed it – originally a term for achiveing something difficult, but used sarcastically on the internet when users fail brilliantly short at attempts on Pinterest crafts and projects
Neknominate – viral sensation which encompassed people being filmed chugging alcohol and then nominating other people to also act like an idiot on camera, spread rapidly on Facebook
ngl – internet slang for “not gonna lie”
no makeup selfie – was already a trend on the internet before it became a means of raising money for Cancer Research. Before its charitable incarnation, it was often unintentionally amusing when #nomakeupselfies were clearly adorned with lashings of mascara
NSFW – “not safe for work”, basically letting you know: do not fire this up where your boss can see it
Links are long. Links used to be so long that they’d resemble a game ofNokia snake two seconds before you died. But no longer! URL shorteners saved us from slugs that went on for miles, and clipboards weighed down with forward-slashes and keywords. Ow.ly (part of HootSuite), Bitly, t.co,Goo.gl and the rest have freed us from the shackles of bulging address bars, and allowed us space to breathe in our tweets – a feeling akin to loosening one’s belt buckle after a massive Sunday roast. O thank you Ow.ly, you are wise indeed.
OTP – acronym meaning “one true pairing” in fanfic communities, for example: Ron and Hermione
OOO – meaning an out of office email reply
OP – “original poster” – the first post in a discussion thread, or person who posted it
open source – open source software, which promotes universal access by allowing free license to a product’s design or blueprint
overly attached girlfriend – a meme consisting of an image of a girl taken on webcam, overlayed with text nodding towards a clingy or obsessed person. The original girl in the photo, Lana, has since become an internet celebrity
If you’re anything like me, your hard drive is overrun with random pictures you’ve downloaded or screen-grabbed from the internet: stunning photography, humorous memes, a stock image of those boots you want to buy but will probably wait till the sale – Pinterest was established to capitalise on people like us (especially the boots part).
Pinterest is a website which allows users to “pin” images to boards, like a traditional mood board used in fashion or design practice. Each image is known as a “pin” and each board is themed. Adding “pins” is easy and especially with various Pinterest extensions available for browsers. Fashion, interior design and are all popular on the site. Many brands also run official Pinterest pages.
Established in 2010, Pinterest is interesting in that it is incredibly popular with women in the US. One 2012 study even put its Amreican traffic from female users as high as 83%. The main problem with Pinterest is it serves as a visual reminder of all the most beautiful things in the world you will probably never be able to achieve/afford/get remotely close to. *Pins topless picture of Zac Efron*
P2P – stands for for peer-to-peer. Computer network in which each device acts as a server, removing the need for a central server, thus facilitating file-sharing
PGP – “Pretty Good Privacy”. A data encryption and decryption program
Photobucket – an image hosting and sharing website, which hosts over 10 billion images
planking – viral trend which involved people lying face down with their legs together and arms by their sides in the most ludicrous situation they could find
pwnd – variation of “owned” ie. when you beat, defeat or humiliate a sworn enemy
QTWAIN is an acronym for “questions to which the answer is no”. Basically any question the Daily Mail or The Sun poses is a good place to start with this one. ARE IMMIGRANTS MURDERING US ALL?#QTWTAIN. IS KATE MIDDLETON EXPECTING QUADRPULETS?#QTWTAIN. Questions to which the answer is no are usually so stupid and obviously deserving of a no answer, or none at all, that they are verging on the rhetorical. The Independent even had a blog dedicated toQTWTAIN.
QTWAIN is also known as “Betteridge’s law” after tech journalist Ian Betteridge. Although the concept has been around a long time.
Quora – a question and answer website, users collaborate to edit answers
Quickmeme.com – one of the most popular meme maker and sharing sites
Reddit bills itself as “the front page of the internet”, which is somewhat awkward, given that Digg calls itself “the homepage of the internet” (fight fight fight!). reddit is essentially an old style bulletin board to which users post interesting links, texts or pictures. Content is then either “upvoted” or “downvoted” by registered users, which determines its place on a page.
Users do not have to provide an email to register, or register via a social network. Redditors are a very tight community and adhere to a certain set of values known as “reddiquette”. Don’t obviously post things in the wrong subreddits or self-promote, and don’t troll as you will be called out.
Content is organised into subreddits, which are essentially subject matter or genre channels. Some of the most famous include ELI5 (Explain Like I’m 5), AMA (Ask Me Anything), Internet is Beautiful and TIL (Today I Learned). But there are also very niche subreddits, and very dark ones. Mostly though, reddit is a great source to find interesting, humorous or intriguing content. Making it onto the front page of reddit is the internet equiavlent of winning Olympic gold.
The company was started in 2005 and its biggest shareholder is Advance Publications, parent of Conde Nast. Which brings us to the brilliant realisation that reddit and Vogue are owned by the same people.
revenge porn – horrible people think it’s a good idea to post naked pictures and videos of their exes, everyone else thinks they are heinous
retweet – when a Twitter user republishes someone else’s tweet to their own timeline (if doing this by quoting a tweet, users will add “RT” to text of tweet)
Rickrolling – trolling trend which saw content links redirect to the YouTube video of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”
ROFL – “rolling on the floor laughing”
In case you’ve been living under a rock since the camera phone was invented, you are probably already aware of what a “selfie” is, especially as it was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in August 2014. The definition the OED give is thus:
A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media
That’s as good a definition as any, and yet some people still manage to get it wrong. Just to be clear: a selfie is not a just a photo someone posts with them in it. Nor is it a photo in which a selfie is being taken. That is literally just a picture of somebody holding a phone up to their face. Selfies have birthed many spin-offs: the shelfie (a picture of one’s bookcase), the belfie (a self-portrait of one’s bum), and the nomakeup selfie which earlier this year raised millions for charity.
They have also become incredibly popular with celebrities and politicians, who seem to think that their poll ratings will go up when they mug into a camera rather than, you know, put forward decent policies that mean we can pay our rent etc. Famous selfies have included astronauts in space, a woman crashing a football field and Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie at the Oscars, which became the most retweeted tweet of all time.
Safari – web browser created by Apple and installed on their devices
Salad Fingers – creepy animation series created in 2004
Second Life – online virtual world in which avatars interact with each other, fly about, have relationships, build things
sfw – “safe for work”, so nothing that will get you fired if it pops up in your browser
shipping – creating a relationship between characters in a fanfic scenario
Silk Road – an online market place, part of the dark internet. Users are able to browse anonymously without traffic monitoring
Snapchat – a mobile messaging app which sends videos, pictures and chats which self destruct after up to 10 seconds. Often employed to send naked selfies
Snopes – an urban legend and rumours site, which aims to accredit or debunk. Founded by Barbara and David Mikkelson, a Californian couple who met on the AFU newsgroup of Usenet
SpiderOak – back up tool for web and mobile allowing users to upload, store, sync and share (as recommended by Edward Snowden)
Spotify – music streaming service, now available as web and mobile application
Strutting Leo – a photoshop meme in which a photograph of a carefree Leonardo Dicaprio on the set of Inception is superimposed into various scenarios
Stumble Upon – a website which recommends content to its users based on thumbs up/thumbs down, as well as acting as an aggregation and bookmarking site
subtweet – mentioning somebody on Twitter without @-mentioning them, a bit like talking behind someone’s back, but not always in a bitchy way
surface web – the regular internet, anything a search engine can reach
There have always been trolls in the world – it’s just that the internet has built more bridges. Trolls are not one homogenous group, there are different types and level of troll. Some trolls, for instance, are trolling just by posting or commenting on something other than the subject under discussion, moving it off-topic. This can be intentional or not. Most of us think of trolls however, as people posting comments or other content topurposely upset, belittle, harass, annoy, bully or offend individuals.
Again, there are extremes of trolling and mid-level trolling. Mid-level trolling might be a sarcastic remark which adds nothing to a thread or debate; extreme trolling is seen in likes of horrific misogynistic abusesome female journalists and public figures face on Twitter (among others). In an example of analogue laws catching up with digital, this has recently resulted in criminal cases.
There have been academic studies published about trolls, but it doesn’t take a 50-page peer review journal to tell you that these are basically just pricks with nothing better to do.
TBT – short for Throwback Thursday. Hashtag employed on Instagram and Twitter as an excuse to post cute pics of yourself as a child or show off about earlier achievements/holidays/ker-azy nights out
Tim Berners-Lee – oh, only the BLOODY INVENTOR OF THE WORLD WIDE WEB
Tinder – mobile dating app, connected to Facebook, which allows users to swipe left or right depending on whether they want to be matched with somebody
Tom – everybody’s original friend on MySpace (full name: Tom Anderson. He also co-founded the company. Good job, Tom)
Tor – Tor is software to ensure online anonymity as part of the fightback from overreaching surveillance and analysis. Its logo is an onion, so there’s that
torrent – a torrent is a file which basically contains metadata about other files and folders, allowing them to be distributed and found more easily
Tumblr – very popular micro-blogging platform and social network, which allowers users to post gifs, text, videos , which can then be “reblogged”
Tweetdeck – a social media management dashboard. Some people prefer Tweetdeck’s UI to Hootsuite
Twitch – website which streams live gameplay and is hugely popular, acquired by Amazon for $1 billion in September 2014
Twitter – 140 characters to say something witty/informative/intelligent, becoming an ever more impressive source for content and news
It’s the one-stop place to understand slang; it’s the Rosetta Stone of the web. If someone tweets or Gchats you a term you don’t understand, you can just fire up Urban to find the definition. Because, ngl, sometimes slang – and internet slang especially – can be confusing.
Urban Dictionary works a bit like Wikipedia, in that its users create the content. Each definition submitted for a word or phrase is either given the thumbs up or thumbs down by readers; the higher the number of thumbs up it receives, the more prominent it will appear on the site. You have to sign in with Facebook or Google+.
UI – short for ‘user interface’. It is the set of commands and menus through which the user will communicate with and navigate a program or website. Ideally, you want this to be clean, good-looking and easy to use
Upworthy – aggregating content site dealing heavily in clickbait
Usenet – one of the oldest computer network communications systems, Usenet is still going strong
Utorrent – free torrent client owned by BitTorrent, facilitating P2P file sharing
UX – stands for “user experience”. How a person responds to, say, a particular program, app or web browser
Cynics will point to Vine and say it is proof of our ever decreasing attention span, fans (*raises hand in the air enthusiastically*) will tell you Vine is a great little app to display creativity, inform and document. Vine was established in June 2012 and snapped up by Twitter just four months later.
Users can shoot and edit video up to six seconds long using the app, which was the most downloaded free app for iOS in April 2013. Its stop-start format lends itself to brilliantly creative compositions and stop-motion art pieces. Humour videos do well, as do animals and news. Journalists are also increasingly using Vine as a tool.
The below Vine has been looped (watched once) over 32 million times.
vaguebooking – an irritatingly vague Facebook status used to solicit attention
Vevo – music video hosting service, the online MTV, if you will. Owned by Universal, Sony and Google
Vimeo – video-sharing site allowing users to upload, share, view and embed videos
viral – when something is shared and passed around the internet at a rapid rate
VK.com – a Russian social networking site popular in Eastern Europe
According to Alexa, Wikipedia is the sixth most visited website in the world with 500 million active users a month. There are 32,695,787 articles on Wikipedia (and probably more by the time you finish this piece) and 287 supported languages.
The free online encyclopedia is hosted by the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation, founded by Jimmy Wales in 2003, (and currently led by Lila Tretikov). It’s hard to remember a world in which Wikipedia didn’t exist; schoolkids had to actually do their homework, folk couldn’t cheat at pub quizzes, and politicians’ deaths weren’t documented seconds after they’d breathed their last.
Wikipedia is a truly fascinating resource, and a perfect example of the internet as educator and collaborator. However, the fact that it is open to anybody to contribute (Wikipedians) can sometimes affect articles’ quality or accuracy, and the site has been host to many pranks and hoaxes. However, the community of editors works fast to ammend these. Wikimedia Foundation also has a number of spin-offs, including:WikiData, Wikiquote and Wikisouce. And what does “wiki” mean, exactly? It’s the Hawaiian word for “fast”.
Wayback Machine – a digital archive of the world wide web. Well worth a look
WAYN – social travel network “Where Are You Now?” which aims to connect people worldwide
wbu – slang for “what about you?”
Weibo – hugely popular micro-blogging site in China. However has since been overtaken by traffic from Qzone, a social network
WhatsApp – very popular mobile instant messaging app which uses data or WiFi connection. Acquired by Facebook for $19 billion in February 2014
Wikileaks – nonprofit online organisation responsible for news leaks and classified information. Its founder Julian Assange is currently holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London
Whisper –free iOS and Android app which allows users to post messages anonymously, consisting of text over a picture. The least handsome app in existence
Wordpress – hugely popular free, opensource blogging tool and CMS
Triple-dot-x is a sponsored top level domain name suggested for websites which offer pornographic content; the domain is not mandatory. First touted in 2004, the domain was first available in April 2011 after being approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) which administers internet addresses. This, despite the US government rejecting its proposal in 2007.
Supporters of the domain say it helps users to avoid fraudulent, virus-ridden sites and is helpful to parents who could block the domain. This is what worries internet freedom campaigners who think the domain could be a gateway to censorship on the web, setting a precedent. Icann has approved many more suffixes of late, including .london, expanding available gTLDs. You could have anything you wanted – at a fee of $185,000 (and that is just a proposal fee).
Y U No Guy
Y U No? is a meme and a great means of expressing a particular issue which frustrates, annoys, upsets, or angers one in a simple and concise (and often hilarious) way. The original Y U NO? meme template was first introduced by LOLTumblrWallpapers and was reblogged almost 10,000 times. After the template was uploaded to MemeGenerator, it became ubiquitous on the internet.
The meme takes the form of a stick-figure man, inspired by a Japanese sci-fi manga, with his arms oustretched and an outraged look on his face. It works especially well with surreal, humorous frustrations, or frustration that stems from genuinely illogical things, or frustration widely shared. For example: “USB plug – y u no fit in right way first time?” “Photoshop – y u no sell photos?”
Yahoo! – multinational focusing on internet services and products
Yahoo! Answers –Q&A site run by Yahoo!, a source of great hilarity due to the randomness/idiocy of questions frequently asked
Yo! – mobile messaging app which consists of people sending the word “yo!” to one another. Nothing else to see here, but somehow it’s a nice way to tell someone you’re thinking of them (without the effort of actually having to converse)
yolo – acronym for “you only live once”. Popularised by rapper Drake. Often used sarcastically when one does something entirely mundane or stupid
YouTube – the website responsible for Justin Bieber
Zynga develops social games that are playable via app or on social networking sites, rather than traditional games consoles. What I’m telling you here is that Zynga is responsible for FarmVille. And FarmVille 2. It is also the reason why everyone went through that period of being sent notifications to play Texas Hold’em.
CityVille is Zynga’s most successful game to date, at one point with up to10 million DAUs. The company has taken advantage of a broadening gaming market, especially the increasing interest from people who would not traditionally be thought of as gamers, as a result of mobile and social platforms.
Zynga’s active users have dropped off sharply in 2014, losing 63% of its audience. The company hopes that its acquisition of British gaming firmNaturalMotion will help to reverse its fortunes. Its game are also available to play in-browser.