Over the years, the English language has gone through so many different stages and phases of evolution that at some point, they all overlapped. Words and phrases started having a ‘figurative’ face apart from the literal (generally applied version of the word). Everything took a ‘meta’ turn at some point and now, everything has more than a single meaning.
One such word is ‘hit’. This synonym for beat bloomed into a variety of things that now, only context will ever reveal what ‘hit’ means. Without that, we’ll never know if the person’s talking about physical assault, playing a song, pouring a drink, flirting, building a great relationship, heading somewhere, realizing something, or being in contact! HMU is only one of the many things ‘hit’ is capable of meaning and here’s what it is.
What is HMU and When Did it Start?
HMU has multiple expansions on the internet. But, the most popular expansion and the one this article is about is ‘Hit Me Up’. HMU is also used as ‘Hook Me Up’ or ‘Hold/Hide My Unicorn’ (for some reason) on the internet. Each expansion has a backstory, but for now, the universal understanding (in whatever measure that is) of HMU aka Hit Me Up.
The slang started somewhere in the late 1900s (between the 80s and 90s). Like almost every slang, Hit Me Up was introduced by hip-hop culture. Many rappers began using ‘hit me up’ in their lyrics and the slang was just about beginning to set into the colloquial dictionary. However, HMU wasn’t popularized just yet.
It was in 2009 that HMU started seeing an upward trend online. The following year was HMU’s official and biggest year of usage. Hit Me Up was the latest and biggest thing on Facebook in 2010. The platform’s statistics for the year revealed a viral hike in the term’s usage. Though it had been around before, this was the beginning of the slang’s online application. It wasn’t until 2010 that HMU established itself as an ‘internet slang’.
What Does HMU Mean?
Hit Me Up is a slang way of saying ‘call me’. Just as there are many variations to the expansion of HMU, there are many variations to the meaning of Hit Me Up as well. Apart from ‘call me’, the slang also refers to contacting or getting in touch in other ways. It could also mean, ‘text me’ or ’email me’ (if your professional circle is casual).
So, where exactly did this variation of ‘hit’ come from? Since when did ‘hit’ start meaning contact? To be fair, ‘hit’ is a lot more versatile than most words. It has so many tangents, so many meanings, and is applicable in so many spheres that it is expected for the origin story of the slang ‘hit me up’ to be everywhere.
Dissecting ‘Hit Me Up’
‘Hit Me Up’ has three parts – ‘hit’, ‘hit me’, and ‘hit up’. Here, ‘hit’ has nothing to do with the literal, physical side of the word. It means to ‘contact’. The word does strike but in an intangible way — more like in a communicative way. It’s like ‘hitting’ the road. You’re not literally doing it, but you’re ‘catching up’ with the road so to speak. ‘Hit’ in this sense means to make contact with anyone or anything.
‘Hit me’, the second part of the slang, may seem like a masochistic cry. Thankfully, that’s never the case. ‘Hit me’ emerges from the big, bad and not to forget ‘high’ world. The first layer of figurative meaning backing the phrase is asking someone to pour you a drink or lend you a drug/shot of the drug/injectables, etc.
Nevertheless, not everyone shares the same interests, and ‘hit me’ came to have meaning without intoxication. Now, ‘hit me’ means to come in contact, into personal space, but with information. It could be a confident way of asking someone to shoot their questions and ask away, let you know of something or someone, or simply hang out as well.
‘Hit up’ is an idiom that builds the foundation for the slang ‘hit me up’. This figure of speech is a lot like ‘hit’. It suggests getting in touch with someone or something. It can also mean traveling, going somewhere, and meeting at a designated spot. However, the more used version of the idiom is monetary. It means asking someone for money, financial support, credit, anything related to money.
HMU is born
The mentioned three parts of the slang thus came together at some point to mean all that the slang ‘hit me up’ does. The colloquial significance of the slang goes beyond just ‘contacting’ someone. The context of contact also comes into the picture with this slang.
Hit me up can be a sign of availability for an event (romantic or otherwise), a call for updates, a manner of asking/demanding for a liaison with someone/something, or as another way of saying ‘let me know’, or ‘keep me posted’.
Besides, HMU can also be a call for collaboration. So, if you’re open to working with someone or something, you could use HMU in a casual setting. HMU is a positive sign to allow the other person to ‘catch up’ for different reasons — personal, professional, or romantic.
HMU on the internet
Considering all that the slang means and all that it can be used to convey, HMU seems to have a very horny side on the internet. In other words, the acronym is most often used while drawing attention to the sender’s sexual availability. At times, it’s also used rhetorically, as a figure of speech. This is just one side of the internet slang and one that is not the mainstream understanding of it. Nevertheless, HMU does have an explicit side.
How to Use HMU Online?
HMU can be applied in a variety of contexts, all of which have one thing in common — the need for communication. With HMU, you will basically be asking people to contact you, irrespective of the mode, the reason, or the level of urgency.
This acronym lets people know that you and/or your services/agency are available. Sometimes, the services can be someone else’s and you become the point of contact, in other words, the person they should ‘hit up’ to receive a particular service/product.
Here are the major instances where you can use HMU:
If you’re messaging a known person(s) to catch up when they’re in town, then you can use HMU. This applies to new people in your circle as well. If yours is a casual/informal professional relationship, then, you could use HMU while conversing with colleagues or clients to catch up for work. Like, ‘Heyy! HMU when you’re at the venue. I’ll come and find you’ or ‘Do HMU if you visit the city! I’m just a text away’.
Building a customer base
These days, a lot of business happens casually, over the internet. With tons of small businesses (and large, established brands) becoming more popular and commercialized over the internet and social media in particular, it is natural that a lot of business talk happens over DMs.
If you are the service/goods provider, you could use HMU while posting about your product/service while asking interested customers to hit you up. Additionally, you can be a marketer while using HMU. As mentioned at the beginning of this section, HMU can be used to market and bring customers to a service/product provider who is not you.
You can also use HMU if you are the customer in contexts like updates on new stock, availability of a product, etc. For example, ‘HMU when this gorgeous necklace is back in stock!’.
Speaking of updates, HMU can be used precisely for that purpose. This use case is applicable in personal and informal professional contexts. HMU can be a quick code for asking about updates once the slang has set into the dialect.
That is, the more you use HMU in your textual conversations, it would become an unspoken understanding that the slang refers to updates. For instance, ‘And listen. You can HMU anytime with updates’ or ‘HMU if anything’.
Apart from information on updates, you can use HMU while asking for general/random/specific information that may or may not be independent of another subject matter. This means HMU can be used while asking or requesting fresh information that doesn’t have prior context. For example, ‘Please HMU with story ideas. Something new, this time, please’.
This is one of the more popular use-cases of HMU. It implies a matter of companionship (sexual, romantic, or platonic). We all need somebody, sometime, somewhere. And HMU can help you find that somebody online. If you’re looking for a date, a partner, a friend, a professional collaboration, etc., you can use HMU.
For example, ‘Hi! I’m working on this script (link below) and since your experience matches my work, I was wondering if we could collaborate on this script project. HMU if you’re interested!’ or ‘If you like what you see, HMU’.
You can also use HMU while asking/requesting a favor via the established companionship. Like, ‘Hey, I need to ask you for something. HMU when you’re free’.
Emojis That Go Great With HMU
So much of what we want to communicate is eased out and made more efficient with emojis. Sometimes, this emoji play is so profound that, emojis begin replacing words. HMU too can be replaced or accompanied by a couple of or a single emoji.
If you want to add more character to a plain HMU or if you want to cut out the verbatim and stick to emojis, here are some options:
Nothing resonates with HMU the way the 🤙 Call Me Hand emoji does. However, this emoji has a flirtatious side to it — one that’s quite visible and sometimes, even suggestive. So, unless the receiver(s) is someone who’s close, the shaka sign would not be appropriate. But, if the nature of HMU’s usage itself is flirty, sexual, or intentionally inappropriate, then there’s nothing like the shaka sign to accompany HMU.
Presenting, the gadget that inspired the shaka hand sign — the old-school telephone receiver! If vintage is on your mind, or if you literally use a landline telephone, then the 📞 Telephone Receiver emoji will be the most appropriate HMU emoji. Besides, many times this emoji is used as opposed to the📱Smartphone emoji while providing a phone number as CTA. So, you can use 📞 or the entire ☎️ Telephone while saying HMU.
If the medium to be used by someone to hit you up is email or physical mail, then drop the 📥 Inbox Tray emoji with your HMU call. This can be a personal or professional context, the latter totally dependent on your work scenario. An alternative to the inbox tray emoji is the 📩 Envelope With Arrow emoji. This emoji too works for any kind of mail.
For Other Reasons
The 💌 Love Letter emoji is precisely for all the times you are asking someone to hit you up for anything but objective reasons. It could be asking for a date to a wedding, a session of Netflix and Chill, a romantic day out, etc. If you’re asking for availability for subjective, more personal requirements, the love letter is great — but if you find it outdated or cringy, you could use any other heart emoji or advanced love emojis.
HMU is the modern-day alternative to ‘call me’. Like the phrase, the acronymic internet slang also has many sides and can convey different meanings depending on the context. It’s both a subjective and objective call to connect.
Here, the speaker/sender asks for connections that are backed by reasons like collaboration, staying in touch, providing info/updates, or for other reasons that may be sexual or flirty. HMU is a versatile slang and fits into any context that calls for connection.