6 Words Invented in the Age of Smartphones

Wednesday, August 212 min read

Do you remember what it was like before everyone had a tiny computer in their pocket? Now, all of our questions are answered with a quick search, our memories are captured through digital camera lenses, and our hopes and dreams are saved in a notes app. As technology changes every facet of our lives, language must develop at a similar rate. These words were invented to keep up with innovations that didn’t exist before the age of smartphones.


Social media platforms tend to be focused on creating a public persona, and people interact with each other in a space that everyone can see. The other side of social media is the private space — known as direct messaging, or DM. These interactions exist only between the sender and the receiver. You can send a direct question to an online connection, and it's the latest way to flirt in the digital universe (just be careful of the screenshot).

Swipe Left/Right

Dating apps have made it possible for people to find new love connections while staying at home. Profiles include a handful of images that are presented almost like playing cards. Interest is indicated by swiping across said cards. Right = yes and left = no. "Swipe left" is another way of saying you’ve been rejected while "swipe right" means you've made the cut.


Almost everybody in 2020 is a photographer. Sights, moments, and events are now continuously captured and saved as digital media on phones. What is the one thing that people enjoy taking photos of most of all? Themselves, of course.

Most modern phones include not just one camera, but a second on the front of phones. These self portraits are all too perfect for social media and have received the cute moniker of "selfies."


The original and simplest social media interaction is a like. See a post or picture you enjoy? Click the little heart or thumbs up to show your appreciation. But what if something has changed? An erroneous or premature "like" is one of the biggest online faux pas. However, an argument or falling out can leave one in a similarly awkward situation. What’s a subtle but cutting way to show you’re not happy? Tap that heart again and unlike.


Unfriending (typically specific to Facebook) is the next level of unliking. Not only have you decided that you no longer want to show your support for that post, but you want to cut all digital ties with the person in question. Sometimes the reason for unfriending is less sinister — you may have drifted apart or just want to clear out the random friends from high school that you didn’t even know back in high school. Whatever the context, removing that connection is known as "unfriending."


GIF is an acronym that stands for graphics interchange format. This type of image looks like a brief video clip that plays automatically. These moving images open up a whole world of comedic potential, becoming an easy way to add color and nuance to your online commentary. GIFs can now be inserted into conversations as easily as any other message. It's also opened up the worldwide debate over whether the word is pronounced with a hard "g," as in "gift" or a "j" sound, like "jiff."

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