Acronyms in Online Communities

It’s interesting to me to become familiar with a new online community, whether that is flashlights, intermittent fasting, or networking to name a few. As you start to read through these communities you learn that they all have developed their own acronyms, lingo, to make common information easier and faster to parse.

As an example, in the Intermittent Fasting world you might see something like this:

SW: 277 CW: 275 GW: 230

At first glance these look like a random series of letters and numbers but eventually, mainly through reading comment threads, but sometimes through the sidebar or pinned forum post, you can learn how to decode this information and suddenly you are able to understand a lot more information and context about a post than you could before.

Now you see:

SW (starting weight): 277, CW (current weight): 275, GW (goal weight):230

And know that this person is early in their journey but are already starting to see progress in the direction they want to achieve.

I think it’s fascinating that every community of people, regardless of topic, adapts/modifies/creates their own shorthand to more efficiently communicate critical information. Beyond just the new subject matter itself, I find this aspect to be nearly as enjoyable to learn and add to my view of the world.

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