The trend, sparked by social media, of taking a self portrait (often posing photogenically). The photographer and the subject are one and the same.
“You should totally take a selfie here! Do it for the gram!”
Text acronym for ‘Parent over shoulder’
The generic acronym used when chanting online and a parent can see the screen.
SALT or SALTY
A regular word used by Gen Z for describing being agitated, angry or upset, “When someone gets attitude at someone and is rude.” “If you get offended at something, you’re salty.”
Alternatively there can be subtle nuances shifting its meaning depending on the context.
“Ha, you’re just salty u didn’t get her number!”
For every generation, language is a defining key to the youth culture. Language unites the youth of each generation, creating a strong sense of belonging within the subculture.
Language is ever evolving as new words and phrases are invented, and traditional meanings of pre-existing words are reinterpreted. This is true of every generation, as there are colloquial words, acronyms and abbreviations that are meaningful specifically within the youth culture of that generation.
“While things were “amped, bad and gnarly” for Baby Boomers, life was “radical, wicked and slammin” for the trendy Gen Xs, they were “sick, cool, sweet and frothin” for Gen Y. However our Gen Zs have taken youth slang to the extreme, creating language at a rapid pace.” HELLO GEN Z: ENGAGING THE GENERATIONS OF POST-MILLENNIALS
3 keys to unlock the TXT speech of Gen Z’s
Gen Z’s have grown up in the digital age, with technology, social networks and personal mobile phones, as their norm. With instant messaging on social media and texting as their main platforms of communication, their written language has been uniquely shaped by the formation of acronyms that translate to traditional phrases and words with reinvented meanings. Common phrases such as ‘How about you?’ and ‘Laugh out loud’ have been shortened to ‘HBU’ and ‘LOL’.
One fun trait of Gen Z’s conversational speech is their natural transition from online to offline, as their speech is delineated from their text speech. For example, “People just say LOL now instead of actually laughing – they just say LOL and a groan.” Joel, (b.2005)
“The Gen Z words also have a lifespan. When they start out its pretty funny and we can use it for a bit. But when they become mainstream they die out really quickly. Stuff like YOLO –pretty old pretty quickly. Another internet thing, things move very, very quickly. The internet has a very, very, very low attention span.” Mitch, b.1995
Gen Z’s live in a very fast paced, globally connected world and their vocab is just as rapid. The rate of language transitioning from popular to unpopular is another social identifier to keep up with. “There is a host of unwritten rules that guide how and when to use terms, their used by date and their alternative definitions when they’re used in different contexts. Amongst some Gen Z social groups, the lifespan of a phrase could be as short as a week, meaning Gen Z are creating a global Gen Z lexicon faster than anyone outside their generation can keep up with.”
“Doing things ironically is a big thing in Generation Z. There’s always a sense of humour or parody to a lot of the interactions, particularly online.” Mitch, b.1995
When engaging with Gen Z’s, remember that their slang is not to be taken literally, as the meaning of the words they say, may have a completely different meaning to your first impression. Their humour is found in extreme exaggeration, hyperbole and tongue in cheek sarcasm.
When you listen to Gen Z’s convos and start to understand their meaning behind their phrases and expressions. You will come to find that they are a pretty lit group of people, and tbh they are pretty lol too!
“Really, really awesome”
Text acronym for ‘To be honest”
Acronym in text for “I don’t care”
Acronym in text for “I love you”. This one can be confusing because ‘love’ in this context doesn’t actually mean ‘love’. Ily is an informal sign off from a text like ‘thanks’. It can also be used to express the first stage of affection in text form as it is not taken seriously by Gen Z. “People don’t say ‘I love you’ yet – they say ‘ily’, then ‘love ya’, then ‘love you’. It’s stages.”
Acronym for “Story of my life”.
Extracts taken from HELLO GEN Z: ENGAGING THE GENERATIONS OF POST-MILLENNIALS
Hello Gen Z is the new book from Claire Madden, Australia’s foremost social researcher on generational engagement.
With a foreword by Bernard Salt, this book will help organisations, educators, leaders and parents understand what has shaped this extraordinary group of young people. Order a copy of the book here. Bulk order discounts are also available.
About Claire Madden
Claire Madden (www.clairemadden.com) is a social researcher, keynote speaker and media commentator interpreting social trends and implications of generational change. As a keynote speaker, Claire is highly regarded for her dynamic and engaging presentations where she translates robust, research-based content into strategic applications for educators, managers and business leaders.
To invite Claire to speak at your next event, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +61 2 8091 4321.