Despite what one of the many New Yorkers we interviewed thinks, it doesn't stand for "social media hotdog."
Because we are a Global Youth Media Conglomerate™, we know all of the hip lingo that young people use when they are on the internet trying to meet other young people for sex and/or drugs. So we know, of course, that "SMH" refers to "shaking my head" and is used chiefly to express disbelief and annoyance with someone or something, usually on Twitter or in texts. Like, "Why can't the bus come on time for once? SMH at public transportation," or, "Haters. #SMH." But a lot of people are sadly unaware of this acronym, so we decided to go out and take an informal poll to ascertain the saturation level of SMH and, in the process, impart some knowledge to the SMH-less masses.
Julia: I don't know. It sounds like S&M, but taken a step further.
Chris, IT developer: I don't know, wait a sec.
Oh, are you looking it up on your iPad?
Yes I am. It says, "shake my head"?
That's correct, great job. When do you think you would use it?
When I'm disapproving of something or frustrated by someone.
Who are you frustrated by? Me?
Whomever I'm talking to.
OK, have a nice day.
Quinn, dispatcher: Oh my God, I have no clue.
If you had to take a guess?
Um, social media… something…
Just think of a word that starts with h, like hotdog.
Social media hotdog, I think that's it.
Brenda, student: It means shaking my head. I use it when I'm texting.
In what context?
When I'm upset with someone or they say something fucking dumb.
Kenya, office coordinator: Shaking my head.
Yes! You are correct! When do you use it?
If I'm like utterly disgusted or disappointed by something.
Any examples of when you'd use it?
Like when you're on the train and you see a bunch of nonsense, you can SMH at that all day. Basically whatever you see on the train that is absolutely ridiculous or disgusting deserves an SMH, like couples with too much PDA.
SMH at PDA. You just blew my mind.
Louis: Shaking my damn head, or I guess just shaking my head.
When do you use it?
When you're mad or disappointed.
When was the last time you were disappointed?
It's just a sad day, it's so so hot.
And you have a broken arm! That's sad.
Yeah, I'm shaking my head at that.
What about ROFL?
Trisha: Rolling on the floor laughing! I only know that because my son uses it.
Do you use that one, Louis?
Nah man, I just say "ha ha ha."
Mel, student: I don't know, can I have a hint?
It's an acronym you use when you're upset at something.
I have no clue. That's really a thing?
Yeah, it means shaking my head.
Oh really? That's retarded.
What's your stance on internet abbreviations?
I think they're amazing, except for SMH because I didn't know that one and I'm mad at myself for it.
Michelle, waitress: I feel like someone just told me this and I forgot.
Want to guess?
I really don't know.
OK, what about ROFL? This one might be easier.
Yes, that one means rolling on the floor laughing.
Do you like using abbreviations?
They're good for texting.
What about when people say them out loud?
I don't like that, I know people that do and I don't get it.
Well, SMH means shaking my head. The next time someone uses one out loud you can say "SMH," but like ironically because you think it's stupid.
That's a great idea.
Previously - Are Working Class People Better in Bed?