These days, social media is all around us, it seems like everyday, something happens that shocks the world. But sometimes, the way people speak on social media can be slightly confusing. Because there is load of new terminology, knowing what the kids are saying is a challenge.
Today, we’ll look at “^^”. Why are the kids using some ancient piece of punctuation, how do you respond to it, and what was this symbol originally used for?
What does “^^” mean in chat or social media?
“^^” below a post on social media can mean one of two things. Firstly, it can mean “I agree with you”, and secondly, it can be used to bring your comment to the attention of others.
On social media, you can use “^^” instead of “I agree” because it’s informal
Now that you know that “^^” means “I agree with you”, why don’t you just say “I agree with you”. Even if you don’t want to write that much, you could still say “I agree”.
The average English professor would have a heart attack if one of their students used a piece of punctuation to mean “I agree with you”.
But here’s the thing. Social media isn’t made for English professors, it’s made for the average, everyday folk. In this kind of informal conchat, official language rules are allowed to go out the window a bit.
“^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^” is stronger than “^^”
Another important fact to state is that there is a difference between “^^” and “^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^”.
If somebody chats you with “^^”, they are saying that they agree with what you have just said. However, if somebody chats you with “^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^”, they are more likely to be saying that what you have just said is incredible, perhaps revolutionary, and anybody would be a fool to not read it.
As a general rule of thumb with social media, when there is more punctuation, the louder the person is trying to be. “Hello!” is very different from “Hello!!!!!”
Alternatives to “^^”
Of course, not everybody will want to use “^^” and there is nothing wrong with that. Perhaps it’s because you want to use actual words to talk to people. Or maybe, you just to have a slightly more varied language. Either way, here are some of the alternatives you could use to “^^”.
That is an excellent point!
I agree with you.
I could not agree more.
Funnily enough, I find myself in agreement.
I reckon you’re spot on there.
Well, you’ve just hit the nail of the head.
I haven’t considered that before. But you’re right.
How to respond to “^^”
The first way you could respond to “^^” is by expressing your gratitude. When we’re young we’re always taught to say “thank you” when somebody does something for us. And online, we should thank people when they compliment us- so long as they so respectfully.
There are several ways you can thank somebody, the most formal would be “thank you”. But because this is online, you don’t need to worry about being formal, you could say “cheers”, “thanks”, or even use the thumb emoji.
By saying “thanks”, are are showing the other person that you are grateful for their agreement.
#2 Address a probable misconception
Another way you could respond to “^^” is to address a common misconception. This might not always be the best approach, but, if you have good reason to believe that somebody might be agreeing with you for the wrong reasons, you could address these reasons.
For example, if I’m talking to someone who I know hates dogs, and he writes “^^” under a post I make about how much I love cats, I might respond by saying “Just to be clear, I also love dogs. Dogs are great too. But this cat I met today was such a cutie!”
#3 Follow up
And the third way that you can respond is by following up with another point that they might agree with.
This way, you’re showing that you know the other person reasonably well, and you wish to keep up with this friendly and approachable tone.
For example, if someone who I know loves cats responds to my post about how much I love cats, I might reply to them by saying something like “The cats down south are so sweet! The northern ones just run away from me lol”.
The person I’m speaking to will feel like they are part of a conversation and enjoy talking to me.
“^^” can be a misspelling of ^_^
There will be times when “^^” doesn’t mean “I agree”, because it might just be a misspelling of ^_^.
And I know what you’re thinking, “oh great, another social media slang”. But actually, ^_^ is rather simple. It’s an emoticon used to show disappointment. If somebody writes something that makes you feel disappointed, either because they said it, or because the information itself is upsetting, using ^_^ is a great way of subtly saying that this information does not make you happy.
The ^_^ is designed to look like the face of a disappointed person. Like they are shutting their eyes in disappointment.
^ was originally used in proofreading to show missing details
But, back to ^.
I’m sure that some of the younger folk reading this might be wondering what the ^ is. Well, it’s known as a Caret. Not to be confused with a carrot or a carat.
^ is used during proofreading, when somebody reads somebody else’s work to find mistakes or room for improvement. When you see a ^ in your work, you know there is something missing, be it a punctuation mark, sentence, or word.
The caret is used to indicate that something which should be there actually isn’t.
And that is everything you need to know about “^^” in chating or social media. Usually, it either means “I agree with that”, or “I would like everybody to look at this”.
Because this is social media, the formalities of using actual words to talk to people isn’t needed. Which is why using a caret instead is fine.
The amount of carets shows how much you agree with something. “^^” means “I agree”. Whereas, “^^^^^^^^^^” means “I could not agree more, you are a genius”.
The three main ways you can respond to “^^” are 1. Gratitude 2. Address misconception or 3. Follow up.
But you might want to be careful. It’s possible they wrote “^^” but should have written ^_^, which would mean they are disappointed in you.
It’s strange to think that a symbol which used to mean “something is missing” now means “there you go!”.