This Side Up

In place of words, use gifs: Translating internet lingo

By JOHN HOWELL
Posted 1/14/20

She's a VSCO girl, who uses Marco Polo to post a meme while catfishing. I don't blame you if you're confused at this point. I'd be lost, too, if it wasn't for an email that caught my attention. I've learned to steer clear of emails with the names of

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in
This Side Up

In place of words, use gifs: Translating internet lingo

Posted

She’s a VSCO girl, who uses Marco Polo to post a meme while catfishing.

I don’t blame you if you’re confused at this point. I’d be lost, too, if it wasn’t for an email that caught my attention.

I’ve learned to steer clear of emails with the names of known acquaintances, even good friends, with subject lines like “urgent” or “could you help?” Seemingly, they are from people I know, but when opened they relate a tale of woe that ends with a plea to send money. Conveniently they tell you exactly how to do that. How thoughtful.

In this instance the subject line read, “Eboy? TikTok? See which internet trends Americans are dying to understand.”

There was no plea for money, so I opened it.

“What does your state doesn’t get about the internet,” read the opening sentence. I was curious. Under the heading “trending internet phrases” I learned more Rhode Islanders Google the meaning of “gif” than any other word spawned by the internet.

To satiate your curiosity without having to read any further, the definition is “an animated or static image typically paired with related words or phrases that play off the image or video. Similar to emojis, people use gifs to convey emotions or feelings without actually spelling out words.”

Rhode Islanders are not alone when it comes to questioning words commonly found on the internet. The data analysis team at Viasat Savings that conducted a state-by-state search found New Hampshire got hung up on “meme,” Connecticut on “Hinge” and Massachusetts on “Bitcoin.”

So you can get the answer from the Beacon rather than browsing the internet: a meme is a digital photograph embellished with commentary meant to emphasize an idea or play on a cultural symbol or current trends.

Hinge – normally what you’d expect to find on a door or a way of indicating things that are linked – is a “dating app that veers away from the traditional quantity over quality approach. Instead of committing to a full swipe right (in traditional dating apps, users swipe their fingers across their phone to the right indicating if they’re interested in dating someone), users can simply “like” someone’s picture or bio. Hinge is more specific than most dating apps, and it’s meant to help you zero in on people that share similar interests.”

As for Bitcoin the definition is: “Virtual currency or cryptocurrency intended for peer-to-peer online interactions. In a nutshell, it’s a way to exchange money online. One important factoid: people that invested in Bitcoin in its early stages are now making bank (a lot of money).”

Here are a few more trending words on the internet and how the Viasat team defined them:

Catfishing: The art of duping someone online by looking significantly different or less attractive in person. Intentional catfishers will exaggerate or lie about their physical features and post fake or overly-edited photos.

eBoy: Someone who frequents the internet often, and who is stereotyped as an online gamer and anime fan. The feminine version of an eBoy is an eGirl.

Fake news: Falsified information used to promote an idea or slander an industry, company or person. Fake news also encompasses outdated information.

Finsta: A secondary Instagram account shared with only a small handful of people, or a fake Instagram account (the “f” standing for fake). People will use finstas to rant about their day, share personal things, or post embarrassing photos of themselves. Most of the time, they’re hilariously entertaining.

Ghosting: The act of abruptly cutting off ties with someone you’re dating or talking to without providing any explanation. The term was coined after ghosts since ghosts are known for disappearing without any warning.

While I was at it, I Googled “Viasat” to learn it is a global communications company that provides broadband services for businesses, airlines, militaries and governments around the world.

And so you know the meaning of the sentence that opens this column a VSCO girl is a girl who posts model-inspired, amateur pictures of herself on VSCO, a free photography site. Marco Polo is a smartphone app where people can send video messages back and forth. And you have the definitions for meme and catfishing.

Ready to cope with the internet, or should I do a TikTok to help you out? And TikTok? A smartphone app that lets you upload 15-second videos – really a selfie video.

Comments

2 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment
justanidiot

fakenews, what you just read

Tuesday, January 14
justanidiot

; )

Thursday, January 16