Have you ever opened social media and realized that a complicated news story happened while you were away? That̵
Out of the Loop and in the Loop
OOTL and ITL stand for “out of the loop” and “in the loop” respectively. In both phrases, “the loop” generally refers to knowledge or awareness of a topic, such as recent events. Being OOTL means that you are ignorant of a particular topic while ITL means that you are knowledgeable and part of the conversation. Someone who is not ITL would therefore be OOTL.
The expressions from which these two acronyms come have been in the English lexicon for a long time and have generally retained a similar meaning. OOTL is similar to other initialisms such as LTTP and ELI5, which stand for “late at the party” and “explain as if I were five” respectively. They all indicate that you do not quite know or understand something and that you would like to explain it.
On the other hand, being informed often means that you are quite knowledgeable about a topic, or that you are part of an exclusive conversation. It is similar to the colloquial phrase ‘informed’.
A Brief History of OOTL and ITL
Unlike other Internet acronyms that are known to have emerged in the early Internet chat rooms (IRCs) in the 1990s, the history of OOTL and ITL is less clear. The first definition for either term in the Urban Dictionary online repository is an entry for ITL in January 2003 that reads “in selected company.” The definition for OOTL came later, in 2006.
Part of the culture behind being ‘OOTL’ and ‘ITL’ is to ask other people to explain something you are not familiar with. With the rise of social media websites such as Reddit and Twitter, both acronyms have grown in use.
OOTL in culture and news
If you have a smartphone, you’ve probably gone to bed before and woke up to dozens of news alerts and updates. When this happens, you become OOTL. News moves very quickly in the digital age, so it is very easy to miss important news items completely.
This is why OOTL is such a common feeling online. You’ve probably seen tweets from people saying they were OOTL, or unaware, about a huge story and asking their Twitter followers to help them catch up. The r / OutOfTheLoop subreddit, which has over two million members, is full of curious users asking to be kept up to date with society’s greatest stories.
It’s not just news. Being “out of the loop” could mean that you haven’t seen a hugely popular Netflix show, or that you haven’t heard the # 1 song on the charts.
OOTL in personal conversations
In addition to the news, you can also stay out of line in your personal life. You can be OOTL if you haven’t heard the latest updates from your friends and family. For example, if your best friend recently entered into a relationship and failed to tell you, you can tell him you’re OOTL.
You can also use OOTL to ask people to update you about your life. You could text someone, “I feel OOTL, tell me what happened.” This has a similar meaning to the phrase ‘being overtaken at speed’.
You can also feel OOTL in conversations on the work floor. If you suddenly discovered that there is a company-wide meeting scheduled for weeks, you would tell your colleagues that you were OOTL.
ITL as a sign of exclusivity
On the other hand, “in the loop” or ITL can be a sign of exclusivity. If someone says you know, you probably have classified or confidential information that not everyone knows. This allows you to participate in conversations that other people cannot.
For example, if you and a handful of your companions are planning a secret project together, you could ask if someone else is “in the know” before giving them the details. If you work in a large company, you could also say that the leaders of your company are ITL because they know everything about the organization.
ITL is related to the phrase ‘walk me in’ which means ‘involve me in the conversation’.
How to use OOTL and ITL
There are many ways to use OOTL and ITL. You can use OOTL when you feel like you don’t know about an important topic of conversation, while you can use ITL when you are part of an exclusive conversation.
Here are a few examples of OOTL and ITL in use:
- “I missed work for a few days, so I’m OOTL. Pick me up.”
- What kind of new conference act is this? I am so OOTL. “
- Is Sara ITL? If she isn’t, we probably need to explain the project. “
- “I’m so OOTL. I haven’t seen the movie everyone is talking about.”
If you want to become an online acronym expert, you should read our articles on TTYL and NP.
RELATED: What does “TTYL” mean and how do you use it?