In today’s world, the news comes at a lightning-fast pace. Blink and you might miss an important story. That’s where the internet initialism, ICYMI, comes in.
What It Means
ICYMI stands for “in case you missed it,” a phrase often used when catching someone up on a piece of news or information they might have missed. It usually starts a sentence, relaying to the reader or listener that the event they might not know about happened recently.
While the phrase “in case you missed it” has been in use for a long time, the widespread use of ICYMI is a fairly recent phenomenon. The initialism’s rise has been directly related to our move from static sources of news to fast-moving, online sources.
The internet has made the cycle of news much faster. Instead of relying on TV or newspapers, we can get breaking news in an instant, just as things are occurring. This rapid cycle is what created the culture surrounding the initialism ICYM. People were used to getting the news half a day after it came out, but with the internet, missing news stories became much more common.
A Faster World
ICYMI became prominent on Twitter. Several years after its launch, Twitter became a significant news source for millions of people. Given the platform’s original limit of 140 characters, though, people often used initialisms. ICYMI was one of these, and people used it to share breaking news with their followers. This cycle and the use of ICYMI have only grown since.
The initialism has even been taken up by actual news outlets. Because they run hundreds or thousands of stories each week, they often also create bite-sized pieces outlining stories people might have missed. The BBC actually has a series called “ICYMI,” for which it compiles several recent news items.
ICYMI is also used to gain attention for stories that aren’t part of the larger news cycle. These often include human-interest pieces, or news about scientific advancements or finance, which might not have made major headlines.
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Filling in Gaps
Like many initialisms, ICYMI is not used in only one context. It’s also often used to fill gaps in recent information for asking questions.
For example, let’s say someone asks a question on an online forum regarding where to buy cheap video games. Someone might respond with: “ICYMI, there’s a big sale on the digital store right now that you should check out.”
You can also use it when messaging with friends and family. In this context, it’s typically used to catch people up on life events they might have missed on your social media. For example, you might text: “ICYMI, we got a new dog in the house.”
In this situation, you could also use “ICYDK,” which stands for “in case you didn’t know.”
How to Use ICYMI
As we covered above, you can use ICYMI in various contexts, from personal messages with friends to creating and sharing content on the internet. However, it’s almost always used to share relatively recent information. Otherwise, you might be better off using ICYDK.
Here are a few examples of ICYMI usage:
- “ICYMI, the Supreme Court, in an 8-1 ruling, voted to uphold the current data privacy act.”
- “ICYMI Johnny just graduated grade school!”
- “ICYMI, Main Street will be closed for the day.”
- “ICYMI, gift cards have been available at a 10% discount for the last week.”
There are a lot of other internet initialisms out there, including IDGI and FWIW. Read up on all of them, and you’ll soon be an expert!
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