If you ever wondered what those pesky Millennials are talking about, Jessica Bennett of the has the story on the internet generation’s use of confounding hyperbole in the New York Times. An excerpt below.
The text exchange was unspectacular: a friend explaining a video that had been posted by a classmate to his Snapchat feed. Jordana Narin, my 20-year-old research assistant, was half paying attention, sitting in my living room working on a project, texting between breaks.
“Omg literally dying,” she typed back, not missing a beat. She turned back to her computer.
But Jordana wasn’t literally dying. She wasn’t figuratively dying, either. In fact, she didn’t even crack a smile.
“I don’t even know what she’s talking about,” she told me when I asked. “I want to be like, ‘I don’t care.’”
But instead, she typed what to some may seem like the most dramatic response imaginable. Except that it wasn’t.
“It’s almost like ‘dying’ has become a filler for anytime anyone says anything remotely entertaining,” she said. “Like, if what you’re saying won’t legitimately put me to sleep, I respond with, ‘OMG dying.’”
R.I.P. to the understatement. Welcome to death by Internet hyperbole, the latest example of the overly dramatic, forcibly emotive, truncated, simplistic and frequently absurd ways chosen to express emotion in the Internet age (or sometimes feign it).
Other examples: THIS (for when a thing is so awesome you are at a loss for how to describe it); feeeeeels (for something that gives you multiple feelings); unreal!!! (for when a thing is totally believable and only mildly amusing); yassssss (because “yes” will no longer do); -est (greatest, prettiest, cutest, funniest) EVER, which now applies to virtually all things; and “I can’t even,” for when something leaves you so emotive that you simply cannot even explain yourself.
There’s also a;lsdkjfa;lsdkgjs; meaning “I’m so excited/angry/speechless that all I can do is literally slam my hands/head/body against the keyboard” (thus producing a series of gibberish that usually involves the letters a, s, d and k).