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What does ICYMI mean and how do you use it?

In today’s world, the news comes lightning fast. If you blink, you may be missing an important story. This is where the Internet initialism ICYMI comes into play.

What it means

ICYMI stands for “in case you missed it,”

; a term that is often used when telling someone about news or information they may have missed. Usually a sentence begins that tells the reader or listener that the event they may not know about happened recently.

While the phrase “if you missed it” has long been used, the widespread use of ICYMI is a relatively new phenomenon. The rise of initialism was directly related to our shift from static news sources to fast-moving online sources.

The internet has made the news cycle much faster. Instead of relying on television or newspapers, we can get the latest news instantly just as things happen. This rapid cycle has created the culture that surrounds ICYM initialism. People were used to getting the news half a day after it was published, but with the internet, missing news became much more common.

A faster world

The Twitter logo above some vintage newspapers.
rvlsoft / Shutterstock

ICYMI became known on Twitter. A few years after its inception, Twitter became a major news source for millions of people. However, given the platform’s original 140-character limit, users made frequent use of initials. ICYMI was one of them, and people used it to bring breaking news to their followers. That cycle and the use of ICYMI have only grown since then.

The initialism was even picked up by current news agencies. Also, because they tell hundreds or thousands of stories every week, they often create bite-sized pieces that describe stories that people may have overlooked. The BBC actually has a series called “ICYMI” for which they put together several breaking news.

ICYMI is also used to draw attention to stories that are not part of the larger news cycle. This often includes articles of human interest or news about scientific advances or finance that may not have made big headlines.

CONNECTED: How to turn off Twitter’s “News For You” notifications

fill gaps

Like many initials, ICYMI is not used in just one context. It is also widely used to fill in gaps in current information to ask questions.

For example, let’s say someone asks a question on an online forum about where to buy cheap video games. Someone might reply, “ICYMI, there is a big sale in the digital store right now that you should check out.”

You can also use it when sending messages with friends and family. In this context, it is usually used to let people know about life events that they may have missed on your social media. For example, you could write, “ICYMI, we have a new dog in the house.”

In this situation you can also use “ICYDK”, which stands for “in case you didn’t know”.

Use of ICYMI

As described above, you can use ICYMI in a variety of contexts, from personal messaging with friends to creating and sharing content on the Internet. However, it is almost always used to exchange relatively current information. Otherwise, it might be better to use ICYDK.

Here are some examples of how ICYMI can be used:

  • “ICYMI, the Supreme Court, voted 8: 1 to uphold the current data protection law.”
  • “ICYMI Johnny just finished elementary school!”
  • “ICYMI, Main Street will be closed for the day.”
  • “ICYMI, gift cards have been available with a 10% discount for a week.”

There are many other Internet initialisms, including IDGI and FWIW. Read through them all and you will soon be an expert!

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