Tag Archives: social media

Social Media Slang

Context: HO is an 18 year old college student who frequents instagram frequently and twitter infrequently. I, the interviewer am labeled as DJ.

HO: “Horny on main” means, like, you’re openly talking about something a lot on your public instagram.

DJ: Is it always on social media?

HO: I think it’s only on social media. I don’t know. I’ve never heard someone say that to me, like, outside of social media.

DJ: I’ve used it before not relating to social media.

HO: I never have. Who’s to say?

DJ: So, what does “on main” mean?

HO: It means on their main as opposed to their private Instagram story, or, like, “finsta.” Do I have to explain what “finsta” means?

DJ: Oh yes please. 

HO: It’s where you have a smaller Instagram. Your immediate circle of friends usually follows it, so you can post whatever you want?

DJ: Where does the word come from?

HO: Fake instagram.

Analysis:

Both terms defined in the interview refer to a person having multiple social media accounts: one for the public eye and the other designated as a more private platform in which people can be their more authentic selves. 

For further analysis regarding the social phenomenon “finsta” instagram accounts, see

Dewar, Sofia, et al. “Finsta: Creating” Fake” Spaces for Authentic Performance.” Extended Abstracts of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. 2019.

“Karen” as a folk term

Main Piece

Interviewer: What does “Karen” mean?

Informant: Karen is an internet slang word to describe a  very entitled, middle-class white woman. Or a boomer white woman. They are often blonde and they often have very short haircuts. They usually like to speak and the managers, and then proceed to yell at the entry-level employees who have no control over the matters. 

Interviewer:Where did you pick it up?

Informant: Maybe a year ago, scrolling through Twitter. 

Interviewer: do you use it frequently?

Informant: Yeah, especially when making jokes with friends or memes on the internet, haha.

Background

The informant is a good friend and housemate of mine, and is a junior at USC studying Computer Science and Computer Engineering. He is originally from Manhattan Beach, CA and has been coding ever since highschool. He has had several internships with different computer science companies such as Microsoft and is very involved with different coding clubs on campus. 

Context

The group of individuals at my house tend to send each other a lot of memes and use internet lingo throughout the house as different jokes. “Karen” is one that this informant uses very frequently, so during our interview I asked him to describe it in his own terms. 

Analysis

This term of folk speech is a perfect example of how internet lingo and culture has permeated into everyday verbal communication. Many of these terms are associated with humor and generational differences, as seen with this one which is intended to poke fun at individuals from an older population. This shows the rift in values and morals between generations, and displays how everyday names can be transformed to carry much more weight and meaning.