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Reddit Explains the Evolution of Internet Slang



The Internet has gone from capturing the spirit of the times to creating it — influencers on YouTube and TikTok create trends and people posting on Twitter and Reddit are changing the language we use, although it isn’t always obvious. Seeing these shifts sometimes requires looking back, and that’s exactly what a Reddit user did when they asked how people used to speak on the Internet.

A Reddit user asked the “elder” users of the forum what slang terms were the popular online during the “dawn of the Internet”, and what did they mean? What followed was an interesting thread that shows how the online world has changed.

“I wasn’t there at the dawn, but I was pretty early. ‘Warez’ was pirated stuff, ‘Sup’ or a little later on ‘Lo’ was the standard greeting, we used ‘BRB’ a lot, ‘Progs’ for programs, ‘pr0n’ instead of porn, there were a few others, but my brain ain’t what it used to be,” said user holeeray.

“Idk if this counts as Elder, but I miss TTYL,” said ppity_pangolin, which means “talk to you later,” and most avid texters would know that IDK is “I don’t know.”

User IntrovertIdentity decided to describe the challenges faced by users initially. “‘The net’ was a big thing. We had Internet users (netizens) and expected proper behaviour (netiquette). For example, netiquette said you should get permission first before linking to a site. So, email Tim Cook before linking to We didn’t know how to tell people to go to a website. ‘Point your browser to’ was popular (in those days). There was often confusing whether / or was the slash, so folks would often say ‘point your browser to h-t-t-p colon forward slash forward slash altavista dot com.'”

The Reddit user also posted a video that he said would have been “cringey” even in the ’90s but “it will help you see how the internet was really new” then.

Another user, WannaWaffle, said there was “very little slang” during those days as there were few users on the Internet in the general population. “The real slang started after the invention of the .com domains that changed the Internet from a vehicle for academia, the military and some businesses to a vehicle for public consumption, mostly through AOL, Prodigy and similar services.”

“Not seeing enough l33t in here,” said Court_Vision.

Check out the thread to test your “elderly” Internet knowledge and figure that out yourself.

We dive into all things Apple — iPad Pro, iMac, Apple TV 4K, and AirTag — this week on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.

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