• Layla Harrison

Gen Z Social Media Terms Explained

Abbreviations and slang are often found on social media, namely TikTok. I’m here to provide a dictionary explaining these terms and shed light on how Gen Z uses them every day.


Gen Z Abbreviations on Social Media:


CEO

When someone declares another the “CEO” of something, it does not actually mean they are the Chief Executive Officer of that word. You can’t really be the CEO of “making mac and cheese.” But, if you consistently make delicious mac and cheese, your audience may declare you the CEO of that arena. This means you dominate the competition in the eyes of others, and are informally declared the best in whatever category is identified.


DC: Dance Credit

When you see “DC” in someone’s TikTok caption, they’re crediting the creator who choreographed the dance.


DITL: Day in the Life

These videos showcase snippets of one’s day. Often starting with a morning routine, segueing to tasks completed and meals enjoyed throughout the day, to a night-time wind down. This is a great way to take your followers along for a day in your life, sharing a bit of yourself through revealing your routine. With a camera phone, it’s easy to romanticize the seemingly mundane moments in one’s life. Viewers will get an improved sense of the creators’ lifestyle as well as feel inspired by their own lives.


GRWM: Get Ready With Me

These videos are often someone getting dressed, packing a bag, or completing a routine for their audience. This kind of content connects with viewers as if they are with the person getting ready. People can seek inspiration from this kind of video, so creators will use #GRWM so that app users searching for that kind of video will find the creator’s content.


NSFW: Not Safe For Work

This can refer to a website that isn’t trustworthy, or can be taken lightly when making a silly, trendy video with coworkers, doubling as another “Don’t try this at home!” We see this term a lot in social media marketing.


TFW: That Feeling When

This is often used in relatable videos. For example, a video of someone dancing happily captioned “TFW you finish work early” is easily understood and relates to many people in the workforce. This is a way to expand your audience based on similarities you share.


W/L: Win/Loss

A “W” means someone wins something or something great happened to them, and that’s labeled a win. For example, if you have a TikTok go viral, that’s a “W.” If the car ahead of you in the drive-thru pays for your meal, that’s a “W.” On the other hand, if you post a video that gets no views, that’s an “L.” If you post a video slipping on something, for example, the infamous Charlotte takes a tumble, that’s a major “L.”


Gen Z Slang on Social Media:


Ate:

“Great job.”When someone “ate” that means they did an outstanding job at the task at hand. You often see this in the comments of a TikTok of someone dancing well, or someone sharing truthful, hard-hitting information.


Cap:

Cap is a lie or exaggeration. You’ll often see “That’s cap” or “🧢” commented when someone doesn’t agree with a post.


Cheugy:

Cringey, embarrassing, tacky, or outdated. You do NOT want to appear cheugy on social media by posting filtered, over-saturated, or low-quality images.


Slay:

This is a noun and verb. As a noun, it refers to an absolute win and job well done. As a verb, it means to execute something remarkably, uniquely well. You killed it! You slayed it.


Sus:

Sus is a shortened version of suspicious. When something is “sus” it means that it doesn’t sound right, and others are skeptical of it. This is like when something is too good to be true, because it probably is. For example, Anna Delvey was sus.


Understood the Assignment:

This means someone understood a trend and executed it to perfection, or went above and beyond. If someone comments this on a relatable video, that means it struck a chord with them. Kudos to the creator! If someone comments this on a video showcasing an outfit for dinner, that means the well-dressed individual dressed perfectly for the occasion.


Bonus Social Media Abbreviations:

Here are two abbreviations I learned during my internship that are essential for understanding social media management lingo.


CTA: Call to Action

On TikTok, social media marketers (SMM) often urge their audience to use CTAs. This urges viewers to take the next steps to engage with creators and their services. Identifiable examples are “follow for more” or “click the link in bio!”


KPI: Key Performance Indicator

These are metrics identified to track success. Establishing KPIs is similar to setting goals. A KPI could be reaching a higher number of followers. As your following grows, that’s an indicator that you are performing well and heading towards your goals.


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