Social media is always causing language to evolve and change at lightning speed.
If you’ve been seeing “/SRS” on your feeds lately, there’s a good reason for it. Communicating online is just way different than doing so face-to-face. Especially if you’re talking over text without audio or video.
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There are far fewer non-verbal cues like body language, facial expressions and tone to help you understand what people mean. That was until neurodivergent folks came up with tone indicators, like “/SRS,” to make communicating online easier.
What does ‘/SRS’ mean on TikTok?
The term “/SRS” is shorthand for “serious” and is used as a tone indicator to clarify that a statement should be perceived earnestly or taken seriously.
What is a tone indicator?
In the absence of non-verbal cues, tone indicators help to inform readers about how the writer intended their message to be received. When people use text-based social media, like Twitter or Reddit, it can be difficult to decipher if a message was intended to be sarcastic, a joke or a serious statement. Tone indicators just provide readers with more information.
Most tone indicators appear at the end of the statement following a backslash. For example, “You’re a great friend! /SRS.”
Some other tone indicators:
/P = Platonic
/J = Joking
/S = Sarcastic
/NM = Not actually mad or upset
/LH = lighthearted
Who uses tone indicators?
Tone indicators were created for neurodivergent people who use text-based communication. However, tone indicators can be used by anyone.
According to a tone indicator explainer, “It can be difficult for neurodivergent people to understand you even in face-to-face, where they do have access to non-verbal cues, so imagine how much harder it is online.”
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