In Cyber Safety, Internet Glossary

By the Way, what does BTW mean?

what does BTW mean

By the way, what does BTW mean?

Acronyms can be a tricky little thing to figure out. Some, like smh (which means “shaking my head”), can be a little more complicated. This is due in part to its recent creation. An acronym like lol (which means “laughing out loud”) is much more easily understood, but it’s not too hard to mistake it for something else. For example, I’ve seen more than a few people use it to mean “lots of love”, which can be an embarrassing faux pas if used in response to a sad post on Facebook or Twitter. In order to better understand acronyms and why they are used, we are going to discuss one in particular – namely, we will discuss the btw meaning.

A general history of acronyms

While this is typically common information, it’s worthwhile to discuss it. Acronyms like btw were not especially common before the Internet, but the principle of shortening phrases or words to better convey themselves – particularly in an informal situation – is something that people have been doing for quite a while. You most commonly could find examples of this occurring when people tried to abbreviate the names of organizations or businesses, which very often were long and unwieldy, necessitating such abbreviations.

Why do people use acronyms on the Internet?

Internet acronyms truly made a debut on Internet bulletin board systems. In order to better convey your thoughts in as few words as possible, people began to use Internet acronyms in order to save time and energy. It is also the reason behind why people use emoticons on the Internet. Emoticons are a combination of symbols meant to convey emotions – for example, 🙂 indicates happiness, 🙁 indicates sadness, >:( indicates anger, and 😛 can indicate playfulness.

Of course, that’s not the only reason behind why people use Internet acronyms like this. A big part of it is to appear “hip.” It ties into the idea of “1337 5p34k” (translated into English as “leet speak” or “elite speak,” referring to seemingly indecipherable text), where people use acronyms and emoticons to create an “in crowd” of Internet people. These kinds of acronyms are generally not used in professional Internet use, as it can create a negative impression for someone who is trying to make themselves seem professional.

What does btw mean

What does btw mean – it’s a question that one must ask before they get to the nitty gritty of it. Btw is one of the simpler examples of an acronym, and one that is easier to discern than others. Btw means “by the way,” and is used as it is used in normal, everyday speech – that is, it’s used to convey an additional thought that may or may not be related to the original thought that was discussed.

What does btw mean in texting language

Next, you might have to ask “what does btw mean in text?” Much like its use on Internet bulletin board systems, Internet chat rooms, and Internet message boards, people use the acronym “btw” in order to put more brevity into their words and to appear more “hip.” While text messages are not so limited, an abbreviation can make it easier if you have a lot of things to say in a single comment.

Use in the modern day Internet

Little has changed in the Internet to cause acronyms to die down. In fact, it can be argued that the situation has actually encouraged greater use of shortening. Particularly, the social media website “Twitter” employs a 140 character limit, which requires you to condense your message the best way that you can. On top of all of that, if you want to make a successful Twitter post (also known as a “tweet”), you have to make liberal use of things called hashtags, which help Twitter users categorize their tweets so that they can more easily reach potential readers.

The use of acronyms to convey rude or negative discussion

At times, it is not uncommon for someone to find themselves the target of abuse or mockery through the use of an acronym. For example, the acronym yolo – which stands for “you only live once” – can be used to convey to others pressure to do something that they would not normally do, or that they should not do. Another good example of an acronym that can be used to be abusive or mean is the acronym “smh” – which stands for shaking my head (though some have erroneously thought it to mean “so much hate”) – where people respond to things that they do not agree with by using it. This can be abusive because it can be used to take good thoughts that they do not agree with to rebuke someone’s statements without any actual refutation, and without giving the other person the ability to reply to what that person said.

Yet, this is not always the case. Even though a good number of Internet acronyms can be used for this purpose, there are some that are rarely, if ever, used to do such a thing. Btw is a clear example of one that works like that. It’s generally used as a neutral acronym, and while it could hypothetically be used to be used to be sarcastic or mean, not only is this more uncommon than other Internet acronyms, you are far more likely to find people using it in a positive way. For example, someone could follow a statement with “btw, the dress you’re wearing in that picture is great!”

In closing

Hopefully by the end of this you understand the answer to the question “what does btw stand for?” It’s one of the more obvious acronyms, but a person cannot be faulted for being ignorant, right? You still probably have a long way to go yet before you can fully appreciate the culture of recent generations, so be sure to keep learning, and maybe one day you can better understand the whole thing!

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1 Comment

  • Robert Jacobs
    Feb 13, 2015 at 01:23 am

    Fancy not knowing the difference between an abbreviation and an acronym! An acronym is an abbreviation formed from the initial components in a phrase or a word used to make a pronounceable word. Usually these components are individual letters (as in NATO or laser) or parts of words or names (as in Benelux). BTW and most internet used shortened phrases are abbreviations.

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