Girl About Globe | Ye gots! The rise of ‘got it’.

Linda Kennedy

‘Got it’ culture is upon us.

You will surely have encountered ‘got it’. A recent example in my life came on Twitter.  When I logged in, I was told: ‘Twitter has a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.’ My options were: ‘learn more’. Or ‘got it’.

This is not a unique instance of ‘got it’. Increasingly, when something is explained to me online, often my only option is ‘got it!’

‘Got it’ used to apply to flu and jokes. And queries if one had already remembered to pick up milk in the dairy aisle. Or prefaced by the world ‘still’, another dominant interpretation was that one’s sex appeal was holding. Just. ‘I still got it. ‘

Now though, ‘got it’ is presented as the new ‘I have read and understand’, and a subsequent press of the ‘got it’ option becomes the latest version of a tick in a box. It’s developed to appear as a confident answer – but it’s a confusing one.  What does it actually mean?

It’s time to nitpick over ‘got it’. What’s with all these gots? And a significant question is to ask: is ‘got it’ a commitment?

If, say, you indicate you have ‘got it’ when told a site is using your data in new ways, is your gottification consenting to the dissemination of that data?

I get to the business of defining ‘got it’. ‘In informal contexts,’ Wiktionary says, ‘‘got it’ means ‘I understand’’. Hmmm. Interesting. But not clear. One may understand that new data rules apply, but does comprehension also carry an implicit expression of consent?

The Cambridge Dictionary confuses things further. Got it, it says, is ‘used to say you will quickly do what someone has asked you to do.’  It then offers an example: ‘would you get me a coffee?’ ‘Sure, you got it’.

That’s another ‘got it’, I am thinking. Nonetheless, it emphasises the point – language has lots of gots.

At this rate, there will be the need for a test case on the level of consent carried by ‘got it’, when expressed as an online answer. This legal ruling may become known as the ‘got it remit’.

Until then, ‘got it’ seems to me to be the ‘friends with benefits’ of language. It’s something, but exactly what is unclear and it’s certainly not to be relied on.

(Mind you, the lack of clarity may be precisely the point. Is it an extension of non-specific texting culture, wherein no one commits to anything?)

‘Got it’ also has a sidekick, which is ‘I’m cool!’

When booking recently on Virgin trains, for a trip in the UK, I was told: ‘we’ve placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. By continuing to use the site, we’ll assume you’re cool with this.” My option for a response was indeed: ‘I’m cool!’

Ye gots, you may say. It’s just how the kids talk these days. Sure. But it’s the casualisation of language – and where does it expand next?

What if, one day, it influences legal terminology beyond data, turning that easy and offhand? In courts, for example.

‘Are you cool or not cool being charged with the offence of shopllifting?’

‘I’m not cool, Your Honour. I plead not cool.’

Or marriage vows? Had they had less of a whirlwind romance, might a Royal Wedding at a later date have featured new vows?

‘Do you, Meghan Markle, take Prince Harry to be your wedded husband?’

‘Got it.’

‘Do you, Prince Harry, take Meghan Markle to be your wedded wife?’

‘I’m cool!’

It’s all, frankly, putting the fear of got in me.

Categories Opinion