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What KUTGW Means

Kate Washburn didn’t know what to make of the email a friend sent to her office with the abbreviation “NSFW” written at the bottom. Then she clicked through the attached sideshow, titled “Awkward Family Photos.” It included shots of a family in furry “nude” suits and of another family alongside a male walrus in a revealing pose.

After looking up NSFW on—a Web site that provides definitions of Internet and texting terms—she discovered what it stood for: “Not safe for work.”
“If I would have known it wasn’t safe for work, I wouldn’t have taken the chance of being inappropriate,” says Ms. Washburn, 37 years old, a media consultant in Grand Rapids, Mich.

As text-messaging shorthand becomes increasingly widespread in emails, text messages and Tweets, people like Ms. Washburn are scrambling to decode it. In many offices, a working knowledge of text-speak is becoming de rigueur. And at home, parents need to know the lingo in order to keep up with—and sometimes police—their children.

One reason for the surge in texting abbreviations—more than 2,000 and counting, according to NetLingo—is the boom in social-media sites like Twitter, where messages are limited to 140 characters. Text messages, too, are limited in length, so users have developed an alphabet soup of shorthand abbreviations to save time, and their thumbs.

Taking time to learn the jargon may seem like a WOMBAT (“Waste of money, brains and time”). But with over one trillion text messages sent and received in the U.S. last year, according to CTIA-The Wireless Association, an industry trade group, you run the risk of feeling out of it if you don’t.

The rest of the article here.


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