File picture: Pexels
File picture: Pexels

People encounter the most Gen Z slang on this social media platform – and it’s not Instagram

By Yasmine Jacobs Time of article published Oct 10, 2021

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FOR years, Facebook has been called the “social network for old people”, as many youngsters are now opting for Instagram, TikTok or Snapchat. Yes, “old people”. One 11-year-old boy told Facebook researchers: “Facebook is for old people – old as in 40.”

So it might come as a surprise that out of all the social media platforms, Facebook was the one that had the most improper English and Gen Z slang.

This is according to Wordtips, who surveyed 1 030 people to learn more about their opinion on the evolution (or decay, depending on your perspective) of the English language.

Of those surveyed, 52% of respondents said Facebook is where they find the most slang terms, followed by Instagram (42%), Twitter (39%), and TikTok (37%). Only one in four people, who saw slang on social media, don’t know what the words mean.

The slang terms most commonly used in conversation are: basic (31%), followed by vibe (24%), cancelled (22%), ghost (20%), tea (18%), and snack (15%).

Social media impact on English

Respondents believed Facebook (49%) was the most detrimental to the English language, followed by Instagram (37%), and Tik Tok (34%).

Nearly 80% of respondents said it was essential to learn and use proper English in general – even on social media.

On average, respondents thought a word should be used regularly – for a total of six years – before it can earn a spot in the dictionary.

However, there are certain words that people think deserve to already be in our dictionaries, after those words have gained traction from social media and general texting lingo.

People wanted the word “emoji” in the dictionary the most, followed by “selfie” (67%), “twerk” (39%) and “noob” (34%).

More than half of respondents were not in favour of including the term “Yas” in dictionaries. More than 40% awere also not on board with the idea of words such as “bae”, “adorbs”, “schmoozefest”, and “YOLO” in dictionaries.

What do people think?

Amid a casual conversation, 60% of respondents said they understood the term “basic” well enough to use it. More than half of the those surveyed felt the same about the words “cancelled” and “ghost”.

For the most part, the terms “basic”, “vibe”, and “canceled” were understood by everyone across the board, from Gen Z to baby boomers.

However, some individuals, in the Gen X generation, were confused about the term “ghost” – describing it as a spiritual entity instead of the actual meaning, which has to do with suddenly cutting off communication with someone.

They, along with baby boomers, also did not know what the term “tea” meant. Both defining it as either a hot drink or a marijuana leaf, as opposed to its true slang definition – being another word for gossip.

The term “snack” also flew over all the baby boomers’ heads.


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