Demystifying Snapchat Slang: An Entrepreneur‘s Guide to Understanding "ASL"

As a fellow small business owner, I know how important it is to understand the latest social media slang – especially on a rapidly growing platform like Snapchat. With over 293 million daily active users, Snapchat offers immense marketing and networking potential. But the app also has its own unique language that can leave entrepreneurs perplexed.

One of the most common terms you‘ll see in Snapchat conversations is "ASL." In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll break down exactly what ASL means along with tips for safely using Snapchat to connect with potential customers and partners.

The Origins and Evolution of ASL on Snapchat

ASL stands for "age, sex, location" and has been used in online chat rooms and forums since the early 1990s. Back then, it was a quick and easy way for strangers to get basic personal details when getting acquainted in the nascent world of online conversations.

When Snapchat burst onto the scene in 2011, users adapted the ASL abbreviation for similar purposes. With Snapchat‘s ephemeral messaging features, ASL enabled users to break the ice and get to know new connections on the platform.

Since those early days, ASL on Snapchat has evolved and is now often used in a low-pressure, lighthearted way among friends sending Snaps back and forth. But as an entrepreneur new to Snapchat, it‘s helpful to understand the roots of this popular term.

Snapchat User Demographics: Why This Audience Matters

As of 2022, Snapchat has over 363 million daily active users worldwide. But what makes Snapchat particularly valuable for small business owners is its dominance among younger demographics:

  • 90% of Snapchat users are between the ages of 13 and 24
  • 75% of daily active users are under the age of 35

For companies marketing products or services relevant to teenagers, college students, and young professionals, Snapchat provides direct access to those valuable target audiences.

But to meaningfully engage on Snapchat, it‘s important to understand the platform‘s unwritten rules and language norms – like ASL.

The Pros and Cons of Using ASL on Snapchat

Now that we‘ve covered the definition and history of ASL, let‘s examine some specific pros and cons for entrepreneurs using this term on Snapchat:


  • Icebreaker for networking. ASL can be a simple, low-pressure way to initiate conversations with potential new business connections.
  • Learn about your audience. Gaining some basic ASL details on followers can provide useful customer insights.
  • Humanize your brand. Responding to ASL requests in your DMs can make your company feel more approachable.


  • Safety concerns. Sharing personal data comes with risks, especially with strangers.
  • Time commitment. Personally responding to ASL requests takes time away from higher priorities.
  • Unprofessional look. Some may find actively soliciting ASL details odd or unprofessional.

As you can see, there are persuasive arguments on both sides. Ultimately, each small business owner will need to carefully consider whether utilizing ASL makes sense for their brand.

How to Share ASL Safely: Tips for Entrepreneurs

If you do decide to engage in ASL exchanges on Snapchat, here are my top tips for staying safe:

  • Limit personal details. Share innocuous info like "New York City" rather than your full address.
  • Get to know contacts first. Chat in the DM threads for a while before sharing any ASL details.
  • Listen to your instincts. Never feel pressured to share info you‘re not comfortable with.
  • Review privacy settings. Make sure you have Snapchat privacy controls set up.
  • Disable message previews. This ensures only you see message content.
  • Turn off location sharing. Don‘t enable location tracking via Snap Map.
  • Create a business profile. Use a dedicated brand account instead of your personal profile.

Taking these precautions allows you to tap into Snapchat‘s potential while safely managing your online presence and privacy.

Snapchat Slang Examples: Translating the Lingo

In addition to ASL, Snapchat has a long list of other abbreviations and slang terms used in everyday conversations:

  • S4S: Snap for snap – exchanging Snaps back and forth with someone
  • HBD: Happy Birthday
  • HBU: How about you? (in response to "What are you doing?")
  • HMU: Hit me up (message me)
  • IRL: In real life
  • RUOK: Are you okay?
  • WYD: What are you doing?

Here are some examples of how these terms are actually used in Snaps:

"Happy birthday! Got any fun plans to celebrate?"

"Not much, just studying for finals. Hbu?"

"I‘m seeing a movie with friends later. HMU if you want to join!"

Getting familiar with these examples can make deciphering Snapchat conversations much easier.

Final Takeaways

While ASL has its roots in online chat room culture, it remains a popular term on modern platforms like Snapchat. As a entrepreneur, understanding slang like ASL allows you to better engage with users and gauge if Snapchat is a good fit for your brand.

Approach ASL exchanges carefully, set boundaries, and prioritize your privacy. But don‘t be afraid to embrace Snapchat‘s unique language quirks – they‘re an inevitable part of connecting authentically on different social channels.

Knowing these tips and tricks will help you determine if the Snapchat audience and features align with your small business goals. And who knows, a few ASL replies could even lead to valuable partnerships and collaborations down the road!