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BRB – The Death of a Social Messaging Acronym


We all remember the acronym BRB. It’s one of the more polite abbreviations in the world of social messaging, a way of respectfully letting the person you’re chatting to know that you’ll be momentarily taking time out of communication to do something else. Well, it is with deep regret and sadness that we inform you; BRB tragically passed away some time in 2014…

The grammar police are still investigating when exactly the death occurred. All that can be interred at this point is that nobody really noticed it happened. And the reason why is simple…

Nobody – and we mean nobody – since 2014 has left their smartphone for long enough to actually warrant use of the expression; Be Right Back.

Gone are the days of popping to the shop and leaving your phone behind. Gone are the days of even going to the loo and leaving your phone on the sofa. Over recent years mobile popularity has gone into overdrive. We’re talking big mobile data, cloud storage, collaboration, crowdsourcing, sharing and marketing on an unprecedented level never seen before. Mobile is no longer just a gadget; it’s a state of mind. An extension of us in which we feel desperate, paralysed and incomplete without.

Our addiction to information and communication

In many cases our smartphone addictions can be seen to stem from a deep need to be constantly clued in. We cannot bear to feel that we may miss out on something incredibly important in the brief time we’re away from our prized possessions. Subsequently, BRB no longer has a place in our digital jargon because we no longer go anywhere without our phones attached to us.

Despite this, and despite the sad passing of one of our favourite three letter acronyms, the world is remaining stoic. However, some are longing for the return of BRB because they feel the world is a more unstable place without it.

Dawn, an office worker from Slough said, “I wish BRB was still with us and we could return to a time where it wasn’t so important to have my smartphone with me at every waking moment.”

Tim, who works in the same office, echoed Dawn commenting, “It’s sending me crazy man. Sometimes I could’ve sworn my phone vibrated in my pocket, then when I take it out, nobody has text me. I just wish I didn’t have my smartphone on me at all times. But then if somebody needs me in a Who Wants To Be A Millionaire type scenario, there’s no way I’m missing that call.”

It remains to be seen whether BRB will be resurrected. What is for sure is that with users compulsively checking their phones on average 150 times in a single day, social messaging doesn’t wait for anybody any more.

Photo Source: By David Villarreal Fernández (Fiat Bravo) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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