Text messaging has changed a lot in the last decade or two. I remember typing abbreviations a lot when I was growing up when I had my first MSN Messenger account. If you only had a second, you could type something quickly and the person you were talking to would understand the abbreviation.
For example, if you were chatting online with a friend and the phone rang downstairs (remember when phones could only be used in a fixed place in the house??) and you had to run downstairs to answer the phone, you would have brb write (see below!) and your conversation partner knew that you would be away from the computer for a few minutes.
The ways in which text messaging and SMS voice are used have certainly expanded since the days of AOL chat rooms, AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), and MSN Messenger, with new jargon and acronyms seemingly popping up every day.
However, it is worth noting that abbreviations in text messages are not as common as they used to be because typing them on our small devices is easier these days. We are also better typists than we were 20 years ago. And possibly especially because today, despite its flaws, we have autocorrect and text recognition.
Here are some common abbreviations and acronyms you can find around the internet:
Definition: Talk To You Later
Translation: We'll talk later
Are you really in a hurry and need to go somewhere? Send TTYL to let someone know you'll be in touch with them again when you have more time to talk.
Definition: Shaking My Head
Translation: Shake my head
This acronym appears a lot on Facebook, especially when someone says something you absolutely disagree with, or when you see a particularly stupid Internet video. It shows that you feel the comment is ridiculous (ridiculous) and you can't believe someone would say such a thing publicly.
Definition: That Feel When
Translation: The feeling when
You know that feeling when your toast lands on the floor with the butter on a morning that already seems to be going badly? Or when you think you're done with all your work and ready for the weekend and then you see one last email? If yes, then you can refer to “feeling when…”. TFW is a relatively new acronym, and while it's not grammatically correct (it should say "that feel ing when"), I personally understand a lot of the memes it's popping up on!
Definition: Be Right Back
Translation: I'll be right back
Need to be out of the house for a minute? Or just leave your desk to get a snack? When you BRB someone, they know you won't be gone for long.
Definition: As Far As I Know
Translation: As far as I know
AFAIK may come in handy if you're making a statement online but aren't entirely sure of all the specifics. AFAIK add it to the beginning or end of the statement and whoever reads it will know to take what you say with caution.
BC, B/C, or bec
I use this one myself, especially when I'm in a hurry. If you're trying to text someone detailed information in as little time as possible, this shortcut can be really useful in the text messages (come in handy)!
Definition: In My Humble Opinion
Translation: In my humble opinion
You can use IMHO very much like AFAIK when expressing your opinion or when trying to be a little more delicate about what you're thinking. That way the reader knows that what is being discussed is your opinion of a situation and not hard facts.
Definition: Too Long; Didn’t Read
Translation: Too long; not read
Have you ever sent a long description of something and are after the TL; DR version of this been asked? What you are being asked for here is a one-sentence summary of what happened. This text messaging abbreviation is very common on sites like reddit.com and since I seem to be quite a talkative person, I get the TL; DR version of what happened - even if I'm talking to someone in person!