THE MAJOR SHIFT OF INTERNET LANGUAGEDate: 2018-05-08
In a world that's largely obsessed with technology, and the vortex of the internet sucking you in with old school vines and funny memes, our culture of constant connectivity is changing by the minute.
With your phone being a one-stop-shop for dating, shopping, arranging catch-ups and monitoring your water intake, and even your period, it is little wonder that around 75% of us interact more regularly online, than we do in person.
If our iPhone-ready thumbs unite us in 2018, our memories of a time before this so-called "connected online-world" is but a distant one. This was the era of dial-up internet and shared family computers. This was the era of MySpace and MSN Messenger, a time of pay as you go phones and 20cent texts. This was the age of ‘g2g’ and ‘brb’.
If you mention these internet-acronyms to a teenager today, you will likely be met with a bemused look or eyes rolling into infinity.
Who is to blame? Have these terms been rendered largely extinct by the dawn of constant connectivity? Well, maybe. Once an important part of the elaborate secret language programmed into our brains of 2006s 14-year-olds 'got to go' and 'be right back' have quickly become obsolete as we have stopped logging off altogether.
In the – almost forgotten – days of MSN messenger and MIXit, 'brb' could mean many things. More than likely you had to do your homework, or that dinner was ready. 'g2g' was saved for longer periods of disengagement: when your dad switched off the wifi at night, or your favourite show was about to start and you had to make sure your TV volume was turned down low enough for your parents not to know what you were watching.
While the internet language back then had more meaning, like "brb, need to log off so that my crush (for this week) can see my name pop up when I log back in again"; "g2g, I am off to a rave in the mountains you have probably not heard of, and definitely not going to my granny that lives in the far countryside where there is absolutely no signal!"
Regardless of what the many reasons might have been, online chat sites such as MSN messenger and MIXit made way for the bigger social media brands we know today, like Facebook. Here the millennials started showing off more, and oversharing thoughts and pictures on Twitter and Instagram.
There was no more 'afk' (away from keyboard), or 'wyd' (what're you doing?) And with the death of the classic internet language comes not only nostalgia but also a tinge of regret. Perhaps we were just younger, but the world did undoubtedly seem much simpler without constant breaking news alerts, Tinder hook-ups, and the bleeding of work into leisure as you absentmindedly refresh your emails for the fourth time – in a row – while you are meant to be watching a film.
There is nothing like reminiscing about pre-internet life to make you feel like the kind of middle-aged teenager who would pretend to have never heard of the Kardashians, but there’s no denying something slightly Black Mirror about how the internet has crept into every corner of our lives without us really noticing.
If memories of your first crush and 2000s song lyrics have not made you anything near nostalgic, think about it in this way, one day you said 'g2g' for the last time and then you never logged off again.