Twitter’s #oomf, a hashtag for secret flirtations and fights

"Oomf" is an acronym, not the sound of a comic book superhero being punched in the stomach, and it stands for “one of my friends/followers.”

 

Miles Klee

Internet Culture

Published Jul 8, 2013   Updated Jun 1, 2021, 11:55 am CDT

This morning on Twitter, the hashtag #oomf has been trending off and on, but it may still be unfamiliar to most. It’s an acronym, not the sound of a comic book superhero being punched in the stomach, and it stands for “one of my friends/followers.”

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You can think of these posts as falling somewhere between a subtweet (a “subliminal” tweet that references someone specific, but not by name or handle) and a middle school mash note. Many simply seek to note the attractiveness of a follower without revealing which one—perhaps allowing all the account’s followers access to the flattery.

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But there’s more to #oomf than just shy, safe, and near-subliminal flirtation. There’s also plenty of envy, anger, confusion, and disappointment. Users deploy #oomf to call out bad behavior and estrangements without anything like a true confrontation.

Things got very awkward between me and #oomf, I didn’t plan on it to be like that, ever but, hey.. I didn’t do anything wrong.

— Original Princess ? (@thuggfashoooo_) July 8, 2013

#oomf and I never chill Anymore

— Cliff Paul (@TeamPuddles) July 8, 2013

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Me and #oomf‘s babies would of been so fucking cute

— Richard Paul Rogers (@richardm1996) July 8, 2013

An account called @OhDearOOMF, maintained by @jayarealvarado, seems to post purely generic #oomf tweets for followers to retweet and agree with, or just openly plagiarize. There’s also @UmmDearOOMF and @ItsDearOOMF, but @OhDearOOMF has a far bigger fanbase.

It’s hard to imagine that @OhDearOOMF’s more than 5,000 tweets each relate to a specific follower—at the risk of giving them too much credit, it seeks to tap some universal truth about the detached and passive-aggressive way we go about communicating our emotions online.

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Indeed, the #oomf hashtag ends up providing a fascinating tension between the melancholy drift of digital isolation …

I do want #oomf but our communication sucks :/

— R.I.P Plymouth (@Yoo_Swank) July 8, 2013

… and overwrought, if heartfelt, gestures of passion …

If #oomf ever texted me this…😍😭?👌😘 pic.twitter.com/LR1U9BRgdP

— Dear #oomf … (@OhDearOOMF) July 7, 2013

… and this:

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#oomf don’t got a booty

— Gissell Marilyn ? (@YoFlyingPanda) July 8, 2013

Turns out there are any number of things Twitter users would rather say to everyone instead of that certain someone. Who knew direct messaging would prove too much of a hassle?

Photo by evablue/Flickr | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III

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*First Published: Jul 8, 2013, 1:23 pm CDT