Admit it: You don’t want to feel old. You want to be the “cool” parent who knows his apps from his elbow. You want to be able to talk to your kids during holiday gatherings without watching them collapse into laughter every time you mention “The Twitter.”
But, really, who can keep up with all the new terminology?
No one really knows why there is such an abrupt change from being a baby’s Mighty and All-Knowing Center of the Universe to the person who can’t update their operating system without the aid of a nearby 13 year old. But once your kid is old enough to access the App Store, all that is left for you is an unrelenting march toward irrelevancy and gumming applesauce at the end of the dining room table while people shout in your “good” ear.
Not to worry: I’m here for you. Today, I’m going to hit you up with a glossary of some newish terms that you might hear bandied about by the young people in your midst, so that you, too, can humblebrag about your amazeballs online adventures.
So, let’s take a look at a few of the words you might hear or see your tweens and teens using, in between grunts for food:
Amazeballs: adjective. Like, totally amazing. Incredible. Describes anything that is amazing, using the word amazing, plus the word balls for some reason. A truly amazeballs neologism.
Ask.fm: noun. Newsflash: Your kids no longer post on Facebook, because you’re there, embarrassing the hell out of them. Ask.fm is the new hotness, and is an excellent place to live out “Lord of the Flies” without the prying eyes of adults. Your frenemies and maladjusted total strangers can anonymously ask you anything they want about yourself on this website and, as a teenager who just wants approval from his peers, you feel compelled to answer. Common questions include “Why are u so disgustingly fat/thin/short/tall/ugly???1!”, “Why don’t u just die?” and “Show me ur [redacteds]! I bet your [redacteds] are [redacted]!!1!” Yes, it makes my skin crawl, too.
Autocorrect: noun. verb. Your fifth grade teacher on your phone and computer. Corrects your spelling and grammar based on prior words used and a pre-installed dictionary. Can be programmed on the iPhone to play pranks; my phone likes to correct the word “sweetie” to “poop” when I text my kids. I suspect my 14 year old son set that one up.
Binge-Watch: verb. Holing up to watch an entire television series all in one sitting. There are tiers: advanced binge-watching involves not stopping to change your clothes for days at a time and only seeking sustenance from the junk food packed minifridge you installed next to the couch that now boasts a permanent butt divot.
Bitcoin: noun. An online currency that is hard to find and harder to spend in that very few retailers accept it. Also, the value changes constantly, so no one knows how much anything should cost. If they accepted it.
Crowdsourcing: verb. If Shakespeare were alive today, he would write his plays this way. It involves soliciting ideas or contributions of content online from a wide range of people, like an online community. See also Crowdfunding, which is the same idea, except begging for money. Usually done on websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to help pay for a more professional recording of your album of Chukotkan whaling songs.
Doge: noun. Pronounced incorrectly no matter how you say it, according to my kids, it’s doh-zj. A meme (see below) where people superimpose a Shiba Inu with a “Whatchoo talkin’ about, Willis?” look on his face onto an incongruous background. Humorous inner monologues using multicolored comic sans font are added for extra amusement.
Hate-Watch, verb, noun: To watch a show or movie precisely because you actively do not enjoy it. Perhaps the reason why people are still watching “How I Met Your Mother.” We all know that Ted has to find the titular woman before the series finale, but seriously, what the hell? How many episodes are we supposed to watch before we finally get some closure? Can you feel the visceral resentment? That’s hate-watching. See also “Newsroom, The.”
Listicle: noun. Not a frozen list on a stick. An article that passes for real journalism these days and is generally an essay, news article or countdown repurposed into list form with accompany photos or moving image GIFs. Ex., “Ten Reasons Why Walter Cronkite is Spinning in His Grave”. Also, see Charticle, an “article” that consists solely of pictures and is the main reason Johnny doesn’t read anymore.
Meme: noun. Pronounced “meem.” Lord help those who are walking around pronouncing it “meh-meh,” not that I would know. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, a meme is “any idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.” That used to mean the kind of philosophical discussions that led to the writing of things like the Declaration of Independence. Today, it means being photographed crouching drunkenly next to a couch and calling it “owling.”
Phablet: noun. A giant phone, basically. Sporting a phablet says to others, “I really wanted an iPad, but instead I’ve decided to take all my phone calls by holding this large brick up to my head with two hands.”
Photobomb: verb. You have done this at least once by accident, but now it’s a thing. Even squirrels do it. The next time you pass by a group of people huddling together to take a family photo, stick your head into the frame just as the shot is being taken and you will have given that family the gift of being able to play “Who the Hell is That?” for years to come.
Selfie: noun. Holding a camera backwards and photographing one’s self, much like the way kids accidentally wear their baseball caps backwards.
SMH: verbish. Stands for “Shaking My Head.” What you do when someone nearby is twerking.
Snapchat: noun? verb? Remember when photos were supposed to be long-lasting mementos, suitable for framing or using as blackmail? Now there’s an app where the photographic evidence self-destructs on the recipient’s phone seconds after he or she opens it. I’m pretty sure the kids haven’t figured out any nefarious uses for that.
TL;DR: an entire sentence, believe it or not. Stands for “Too Long; Didn’t Read.” Usually a dismissive response to being sent a really long document and might be accompanied by a short summary. Try not to reply to your boss’s email with this one.
Touch ID: noun. A way for Apple to sell more iKlear screen cleaner. Secondarily, a security device on your iPhone that uses your fingerprint to allow access to your phone.
Twerk: verb, God help us. A dance move that involves shaking one’s hips in an up-and-down bouncing motion, causing the your buttocks to shake, “wobble” and “bounce.” The second most famous incident, in which a girl twerked onto a table and then caught fire, turned out to be a prank perpetrated by the “Jimmy Kimmel Show.” The most famous incident, in which Miley Cyrus twerked on singer Robin Thicke, has not yet been revealed as a prank.
Upworthy: noun. You know those annoying links your friends keep posting on Facebook in between rounds of Candy Crush that make them sound like they should be nominated for sainthood just for posting them? The ones with headlines like “This Puppy Figured Out How to Dial ‘9-1-1’ When His Owner Overdosed on Meth For the Fourth Time, and You’ll Never Guess What Happened Next”? Yeah, it probably comes from Upworthy.
Vine; Re-Vine: noun. verb. whatever. An app created by the Attention Deficit Disorder Society of America a.k.a. Twitter. This app allows you to record six seconds of video on a loop and post it to the internet. I’m not particularly sure how much we’re supposed to get out of watching something for just six seconds, but there you are. Can you only burp the alphabet up to the letter “G”? Perfect. Vine it and post for all to see. Maybe people will even Re-Vine it on their own page, so all their friends can see it. That would really be amazeballs.
I’d go on, but dinner is being served, and I need to go Instagram it before my kids dig in and ruin the presentation. Dang kids! SMH.