TL;DR: you’re not a unicorn anymore

Living in the technical community in Shoreditch, I’m overexposed to web geekery in comparison to those who don’t work in tech but because I don’t code for a living, much of it still passes me by. The questionable grammar – “internet all the things!!!!!”, deliberate misspelling – “WAT” and the like provides a closed community in which developers speak to each other in shorthand – and those who don’t get it, aren’t welcome.

I asked my dev mates, they confirm:

“typing is slow.”

Quicker, quicker!

The desire to speed conversations up has fed a subculture of speaking in shorthand since the earliest days of the internet – when speed, specifically connection speed, was definitely a limitation. Even the reddit about the first internet meme is predictably full of memes, some so dense I can only sense their presence, rather than identify them. Many of them rely on other geek subcultures like gaming or sci-fi, e.g. “it’s a trap” is from Star Wars.

Language is a magical thing – it adapts to suit the purpose and situation you find yourself in. At Red Badger we try not to use buzzwords or popular terms in our job ads because they’ve become cliched and overused. Examples include calling UX Designers “unicorns” or engineers “rockstar developers”. When I just asked our Community Manager to remind me of some of these, she said

“they make me feel a bit sick”.

No longer cool

When you work in a fast-moving industry like technology, it’s really important to stay up to date both as a developer and in support roles like marketing and talent. If you use the wrong terms or use terms wrongly, you will very quickly drop off people’s cool lists. In fact, there’s a term for doing just what I am doing right now: “FellowKids”.

Alex Savin

Software engineer

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