Jargon Busting No. 30 – Humblebrag


A humblebrag is when someone usually deliberately posts something on Twitter or Facebook that might appear humble but it is really thinly disguised bragging.

Some of my favourite examples include:

  • Why does the mercedes dealership always have fresh baked hot cookies?! don’t they understand how mean that is?
  • “Omg so tired. Long day ahead but I know as soon as I’m on the boat my happiness level will increase 90% … hope to spot some killer whales!”
  • “I hate my lambo! Police is ALWAYS pulling me over just cuz its a lambo so they always think I’m speeding but I’m not!! Then they let me go!”
  • “Ugh. I just pocket dialed spokesperson for Pentagon.”

Harris Wittels, an American comedian and writer for shows including Parks and Recreation, Eastbound & Down began a twitter feed @humblebrag where the false modesty of other Twitter users is retweeted.  To date the account has over 250,000 followers.

I would encourage you Dear Reader to avoid the humblebrag. If you are going to brag about something, then be up front, own your bragging. Don’t be falsely modesty; it’s not smart, it’s not clever and no one will be impressed.

Jargon Busting No. 29 – Phishing


Phishing is fake fishing, so it’s spelt with a ph and not an f. Phishing is when someone uses an email or a fake website to get you to voluntarily give personal information such as bank account details and passwords. 

The emails and websites are often very convincing, they look real with logos and links that look authentic. But there are often clues that it is fake. The email may be be poorly written with spelling mistakes, the email addresses to send information to might be for a service such as hotmail or gmail instead of the name of the bank or institution. 

If you ever receive an email asking for account details and/or password information it is almost certainly phishing.  It is very unlikely that a bank or any financial institution will ever ask you for your account details via an email and they will never ask you for your password.

If you ever have any doubts about an email do not reply but instead pick up the phone and speak to someone about the email and the information you have been asked for. Sometimes speaking to an actual person can be a little tricky so head to the website of the company who is asking for information, there may be information about a phishing scam email. 

Some web browsers will warn you if the website you are visiting or a link you are clicking on is a suspected phishing website or link, it is a good idea not to ignore these warnings.  If you ever have any doubts about giving out your personal details, then don’t, trust your gut. 

If you think you may have given your details to a scammer make sure you bank or financial institution as soon as possible and let them know, they will help you make sure your account is secure. Remember that they want to keep your account safe as it helps them keep their other customers safe. 

Jargon Busting No. 28 – Viral

Going viral is something that many people who use the internet to try and promote a product, event or idea desperately want.  Going viral can make someone or something famous over night. Before the internet, trends were spread by word of mouth and now they are spread online, they go viral. Videos, photos, emails spread quickly like a virus, with one person sharing the video, email, photo or whatever online perhaps on Facebook or Twitter and then other people share that the same content on their Facebook or Twitter and so on and so on.

What I think is most interesting is that as well as being shared online people do talk about things that go viral online, and you can feel left out if you haven’t seen the ‘hilarious video’ or the ‘cute cat photo’ or whatever it is. So you seek it out so you know what everyone is talking about. 

Many people think that going viral is pure luck, the reality is that is rarely the case. Instead there is a usually a huge amount of work goes in to getting people to view and then share whatever it is you want millions of people to see. Given that social media is so new with most platforms being less than 5 years old, marketing and promotion experts are still learning what makes something go viral. There are times it can seem completely hit and miss and sometimes no one knows why something goes viral. Personally I’m still trying to understand why KPop star Psy went viral but as of 10:30pm tonight Gangnam Style had been viewed over a 1 billion times!! 1 billion, the world has officially gone mad IMHO (in my humble opinion).

YouTube screegrab

Jargon Busting No. 27 – IRL

In real life logo

IRL, in real life. Many people make friends (and enemies) on line, especially on twitter. People ‘meet’ when they comment on each other tweets, tweet about the same topics and over time they get to know each other online.

You can also get to know people from their tweets, you can get an idea of the work they do, or their hobbies and maybe even their politics, but you have never met them.  By sharing hashtags such as #socadl (social media Adelaide) people with a common interest can meet online and share information, resources, ask questions and arrange meeting up IRL. 

So there is often excitement when you have the opportunity to meet someone in real life.  Will they be as interesting? Will they be as nice? For some people meeting in real life can feel a little like a blind date. 

I have on occasion been disappointed when I have met people IRL. Online they are witty and interesting but it turns out all their wit and wisdom is used up on Twitter and IRL they are lacking in both. However I’m delighted to report that the vast majority of people I first met online have been even more interesting and more fun when I finally meet them IRL.  

Jargon Busting No. 26 – Predictive Text

Many early mobile phones came with built predictive text to help make the tedious process of sending text messages and emails a little easier.  Using the phones number pad to scroll through individual letters to construct words was painful.  Predictive text was designed to save you time and keystrokes . The function would make word suggestions when you started typing a word, you could then select the suggested word or ignore it. 

Predictive text has been be replaced on many new smartphones with ‘autocorrect’. Autocorrect allows users to type words that are then automatically corrected, to either correct poor spelling or to more popular words, this can be both very useful and very annoying. 

This autocorrect function has lead to what is becoming a popular phrase ‘damn you autocorrect’, which is what you shout when you accidentally send a text message with a word that has been autocorrected to something completely wrong and usually inappropriate.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet people have shared their ‘damn you autocorrect’ moments and they can be very rude but they are usually very funny. 



Jargon Busting No. 25 – USB

Something short sharp and shiny for a Sunday.  USB, an abbreviation we hear a lot as just about every device we buy now has a USB connection. USB means Universal Serial Bus and what it actually describes is the now standard size of the connector and ‘slot’ for the connector so that devices can connect.  The USB is rectangular connector at the end of your cable which you plug into another device, a computer or a charger. 

Developed in the 1990s USB connections means it is much easier to connect anything ranging from keyboards, cameras or speakers to a computer or any other device with a USB connection.  USB connections have replaced the wide range of different types of connections, which means it is much easier for us to mix and match our technology bits and pieces. 

I recently discovered possibly my favourite USb device ever, on the wonderful website www.thinkgeek.com a USB pet rock. 

USB Pet Rock

Jargon Busting No. 24 – Trending

The word trend, more specifically trending, has become part of geek language.  And whilst trend and trending still have something to do with fashion. It refers to what is fashionable online right now.  

Trending is when a specific phrase or hashtag is popular, ideally in the top ten topics being tweeted about at a specific moment. When users of Twitter use a hashtag in their tweets, Twitter monitors the hashtags. These hashtags are ranked based on how often they are used and this ranking is called ‘trending’. 

I have been to many events when it’s has been announced with pride that the event’s hashtag is trending in Adelaide, or even better trending in Australia. It is often seen as a mark of success of an event if the hashtag ‘trends’. 

Tonight’s list of trending hashtags in Adelaide reflects what is and was on TV, including 3 types of sport including rugby game between Australia and New Zealand, AFL and NRL.  Given the impending election it is not surprising that #auspol, a popular hashtag for anything to do with Australian politics is also trending.


It is possible to track the worldwide trending topics on Twitter or refine your search to any city in the world. Tonight’s worldwide trending topics can be seen below, and I have to say I have no idea what some of them are. However that is what makes twitter so interesting. With a little research I can find out what people all over the world are discussing, bitching about or ranting about online and if I am so inclined I can join them by just using the same hashtag in my tweet. 


It is very important to remember that just because something it is trending on Twitter doesn’t mean it is actually important, people tweet about all kinds of ridiculous topics. However personally I’m not convinced that Ben Affleck will be a good Batman but I’m open to be convinced 🙂




Jargon Busting No. 23 – Selfies

Selfies are photos you take of yourself.  Digital cameras made it easy (and cheap) for people to take lots of pictures without wasting film. This ease meant that it was now possible to put yourself in any photo and keep trying until you manage to take a photo that is in focus and doesn’t chop the top of your head off. You just hold the camera at arms length and smile for a photo. Now with smartphones many new models they have ‘front facing’ cameras so we can see the photo you are about to take.

Selfies have become a popular way to prove you are somewhere, meeting someone or doing something fantastic. Celebrities and even politicians have succumbed to the lure of selfies.  

Here are a couple of selfies of me taken in 2011 when I visited China and Europe. As I was travelling alone, selfies were are great way to prove and remember I was actually in Tiananmen Square and in front of Edinburgh Castle.

Selfy of me in Edinburgh

Selfy of me in China

Jargon Busting No. 22 – Text Speak

TEXT SPEAK is short hand for mobile phone messages, instant messaging, online chat and email. When mobile phones were new sending a text message was a significant undertaking, pressing buttons multiple times to find the letter you required plus text messages were restricted to 160 characters.

Just like in the days of telegraph, text speak tries to use the least letter possible to make words or phrases. Text speak was and is also used in online chatting, whether that is in the early days of internet forums or today in online chats and emails.

Generally speaking vowels suffer the most from text speak, they are left out of words for the receiver to insert back into the word; so text speak becomes txt spk. Text speak also uses the sounds of letters and numbers to make up shorter words for example great become gr8.

For many people new to text speak it looks like a secret code but the trick is to say it out loud (or maybe in your head) often saying exactly what you see will help you understand the message. If all else fails you can use website such http://transl8it.com/ to help you.

I find that if someone sends me a text speak word I don’t understand I just google it to find the meaning.

Here are a few popular text speak words and phrases.

gr8 = Great

IMHO = In my humble opinion

LOL = Laugh out loud

THX = Thanks

PLS = Please

I ❤ U = I love you

R U OK = Are you OK?

But my personal favourite is WOMBAT = waste of money, brains and time

Do you have any favourites?

Just to show what is possible when you combine emoticon and text speak enjoy Bill Bailey’s clever use of emoticons and text speak to make an Internet Love Song.