Mobile technology has changed the way we communicate forever, allowing us to contact friends, family and brands in completely different ways. With the whole process of staying in touch now much faster, easier and cheaper for many, it’s no surprise that people now send an estimated 1.07 billion instant messages every day in the UK.
According to new research that we completed with smartphone owners earlier this year, we spend an average of 19 minutes sending texts and 32 minutes sending WhatsApp messages daily. With all this phone chat going on, LOL, OMG, BTW and other text abbreviations have become a staple feature in 22% of IMs. Yet, despite our everyday use of IMs and ‘text talk’, our latest research has revealed that only a quarter of us can tell our FYIs from our TGIFs.
Most commonly used 'Text Talk'
The most commonly used text abbreviation has been revealed to be LOL (laugh out loud), with four in ten (41%) text talkers using it daily.
The five most commonly used text abbreviations are:
- LOL - Laugh out loud (41% use this)
- OMG - Oh my god (26% use this)
- BTW - By the way (17% use this)
- FYI - For your information (16% use this)
- WTF - What the * * * *? (13% use this)
However, 'text talk' has proved to be a difficult language to master, with 75% of those surveyed struggling to become fluent in the language of text.
'Text Talk' fails
FOAK (first of a kind) and HAK (hugs and kisses) are the text abbreviations we find the most confusing to understand, with almost nine in ten (88%) of unclear what they mean!
Other text abbreviations we struggle to understand include DGMW (don’t get me wrong), KMN (kill me now), and C-P (copy and paste).
If you have even received a confusing LOL at the end of a text from a romantic partner, don’t be alarmed as LOL is the most misused abbreviation, despite being the most used, with many believing it stands for ‘lots of love’ instead of ‘laugh out loud’.
Other ‘text talk’ fails include mistaking SMH for ‘so much hate’ instead of ‘shake my head’ and FYI for ‘for your eyes only’ instead of ‘for your information’.
Intant message hotspots
London is the country’s IM hotspot, with residents sending an average of 24 messages a day – totalling a whopping 8,687 instant messages sent a year.
Birmingham and Liverpool are also amongst the country’s biggest IM fans, with residents sending an average of 23 messages a day (or 8,650 a year).
The city most fluent in ‘text talk’ is Belfast, with 39% of all phone users’ messages containing an abbreviation, yet residents send half the number of messages of those living in London and Newcastle – just 12 messages a day on average.
Regardless of how advanced our smartphones have become, one item that has always proved popular is the instant message. Smartphone apps and trends come and go, but the ease and convenience of a short written message has never fallen from favour.
Worried about your data usage when sending all those IMs? Discover how much data you get through every month right here.
To help anyone still struggling to understand ‘text talk’, discover our top 50 text abbreviation translator below:
- BM&Y: Between me and you
- BFF: Best friends forever
- B3: Blah blah blah
- BRB: Be right back
- BTW: By the way
- C-P: Copy and paste
- CTN: Can’t talk now
- CWOT: Complete waste of time
- DIY: Do it yourself
- DGMW: Don’t get me wrong
- EOD: End of discussion
- EM: E-mail
- FAQ: Frequently asked questions
- FYI: For your information
- FYEO: For your eyes only
- FOAF: Friend of a friend
- HAK: Hug and kiss
- HF: Have fun
- IMHO: In my humble opinion
- IOW: In other words
- ICYMI: In case you missed it
- ILY: I love you
- IMU: I miss you
- JTLUK: Just to let you know
- KMN: Kill me now
- LOL: Laugh out loud
- MTFBWU: May the force be with you
- MYOB: Mind your own business
- MMW: Mark my words
- NNTR: No need to reply
- NOYB: None of your business
- OMG: Oh my god
- OMW: On my way
- OT: Off topic
- OTT: Over the top
- OTOH: On the other hand
- OATUS: On a totally unrelated subject
- PAL: Parents are listening
- QT: Cutie
- ROTFL: Rolling on the floor laughing
- SMH: Shaking my head
- SITD: Still in the dark
- SLAP: Sounds like a plan
- TIA: Thanks in advance
- TGIF: Thank god it’s Friday
- TMI: Too much information
- TTYL: Talk to you later
- WTH: What the hell
- YMMD: You made my day
- XO: Hug and kisses
Whether you're a text lover or avoider, you can find the perfect smartphone for you over at Mobiles.co.uk
‘Text Talk’ survey conducted by Mobiles.co.uk in June 2017 with 1,017 UK respondents (aged 18+) that own and regularly use a smartphone. ↩︎