From #bae to #onfleek, and #yasss to #basic… Social media language pervades our feeds with slang and lingo that becomes a part of our everyday intake. As I scroll through my Instragram captions and see numerous instances of “dat” and “lyfe” throughout, it certainly makes me think about my social media voice. Why has my humor been so greatly influenced by this social media-speak? Is it ironic? Or just enjoyably absurd? I’m not sure… But this type of hashtag vernacular has taken over my online voice (and sometimes my offline one, too).
Here’s a good example of Penn getting in on the action, regramming a photo with a caption that included both “Professor Emeritus” and “Swag,” juxtaposing formal language with slang. But more importantly, check out how cute my dog is.
For those of us working on social media at Penn, there always has to be a mindful eye on branding. Sure, I want to connect with our 18–22 year -old students. But slipping in a #bae and #bruh here and there definitely doesn’t align with our Ivy League standing. It’s not a part of Penn’s voice.
Corporate brands face the same types of questions. And there’s lots of talk about whether this type of slang-driven marketing can be effective, or whether it just comes off as desperate and – for purposes of this blog post – completely not on fleek.
Nothing says “hip” like Stouffer’s, am I right? The Twitter account @BrandsSayingBae is a hilarious snapshot of corporate brands using social media slang. And this Digiday piece takes an interesting look at corporate strategy translating from the boardroom to the Tweetdeck.
Questions about the origins of these words/phrases, and the cultural appropriation surrounding them, is another discussion (and blog post) all together.
In the meantime, I continue to be fascinated with the power social media has on our language and linguistic landscape.