The acronym FML became a pervasive meme to mark the year 2009. Some of
us might have escaped its grasp, but apparently a good number of folks
used it as a crutch to describe their overt preoccupation with how much
With the release of Facebook's recent "Facebook Memology: Top Status Trends of 2009," which tracked the the top 15 status terms this year, FML ranked second only to 'Facebook Applications' which took the number one spot.
According to Facebook, "status updates on Facebook help people understand their friends and the people around them--how they're feeling, what they're doing and what they're thinking."
In the case of FML, this digital slang term became the hottest acronym to enter the Facebook lexicon in 2009. It spread from relatively low usage to becoming a mainstream word in status updates. FML is used almost exclusively online and in text messages, and its meaning, once very specific, has broadened. People now use it simply to express some frustration with an aspect of their lives. We'll leave the "F" open to your interpretation, but the "M" and L" stand for "My Life."
The beginning of May appeared to be a seriously frustrating time for people, when students were busy with finals and the weather was rainy just before summer. We saw a lull in "FML" in the summer months and there was strong weekly appearance of this this term on Mondays and Tuesdays.
FML was so pervasive, it beat out "Swine Flu" which ranked third on the list. Others were so upset with the negativity represented by "FML" they produced YouTube videos like the one here to remind us that glass is half-full, not the reverse.
With over 8,000 followers, the FML2009 Twitter account apparently attracts those that want to share their tales of woe and see just how much worse the lives of others can be. The tweets are set up so while they first appear to express a positive sentiment ...
They end on a negative note, when you click the tweet's link and land on this FML web site...
Apparently FML entered the cultural lexicon after the January 2008 launch of the popular blog FMyLife, where people continue to submit embarrassing or painful stories that conclude with the signature acronym. The blog currently receives around 1.7 million hits per day.
In November, a Princeton University-specific version of the blog, Princeton FML provided a new opportunity for students to express their frustrations with the everyday trials of life at Princeton.
The creation of the Princeton blog follows the launch of similar sites at peer institutions. Harvard freshman Jonah Varon, a moderator for Princeton FML’s parent blog College FML, said the first college FML site was FMyStanford. Other universities with FML sites include Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, Penn, MIT, Boston University, UCLA and USC.
“I think that college FML sites have some advantages over similar sites that are targeted toward a broader audience,” Varon said in an e-mail. “College FMLs provide students with an anonymous forum to share their thoughts and feelings with each other … I think this desire to communicate anonymously exists at a lot of colleges, so I’m working on starting College FMLs at schools across the country.”
Now, while FML is a tongue-and-cheek appeal for empathy from one's friends, loved ones and co-workers, my New Year's resolution is to diligently try to find ways to turn "FML" into "LML." And I appeal to my readership to do the same. A LML Web site has already surfaced, so I know that there are others out there that feel it's about time for the pendulum to swing back. And who knows, with a little optimism in our lives, it may be just the catalyst we need for the economy to improve and tensions to ease in the Middle East.
LML has even made it to the Urban Dictionary, defined as an abbreviation whenever you feel appreciated, thankful and especially loved. And with that sentiment I wish all my readers a healthy, prosperous and loving New Year!