FBI Totes Savvy to Social Media Slang

You might think your patter is subterranean to all us square adults, but the FBI is hip to that online jive you kids are using, daddy-o. In fact, the Feds have compiled an 83-page manual of social media slang to help agents and analysts figure out what the hell everyone is talking about online. The manual was obtained by MuckRock.com under the Freedom of Information Act.

The introduction to the manual explains: “With the advent of Twitter and other social media venues, the use of shorthand and acronyms has exploded. The [Directorate of Intelligence's] Intelligence Research Support Unit (IRSU) has put together an extensive -- but far from exhaustive -- list of shorthand and acronyms used on Twitter and other social media venues such as instant messages, Facebook, and MySpace.”

Because of the rules of numero-alphabetization, the first impression the manual gives is boy, there is a lot of slang using numbers, including any expression substituting 1 for “one” or “I,” 2 for “two,” “to,” or “too,” and 4 for “four,” “for,” or “fore.” Numerical police codes are also popular, including 187 for homicide and 211 for robbery.” Then there are the unofficial numerical codes, like 420 for drugs and 12 or 50 for police. For some reason 99 means “parents stopped watching.”

As that last one indicates, there’s plenty of slang to fuel parents’ paranoia their children are hiding things from them -- because, well, they totally are. There’s AITR for “adult in the room,” DOS for “dad over shoulder,” MOS for “mom over shoulder,” MA for “mom alert,” P911 for “parent alert,” PIR for “parent in room,” PLOS for “parents looking over shoulder,” PAW or PRW for “parents are watching,” and TAW for “teachers are watching.”

Illicit or dangerous activities? Oh there’s a few, including DWT for “driving while texting,” MIP for “minor in possession” [of drugs or alcohol], SAB for “smoking a blunt,” and SWED for “smoke weed everyday.”

Of course it’s not just kids hiding things from adults: deception and paranoia is rife. Here we have BOS for “boyfriend over shoulder,” GOS for “girlfriend over shoulder,” HOS for “husband over shoulder,” WOS for “wife over shoulder,” MM for “married man” [presumably cheating], and the Orwellian SIW for “someone is watching.”

Some online acronyms are just bizarre, especially when they attempt to convey genuine emotion: DITYID for “Did I tell you I’m depressed?” (in fact, so depressed I can’t even type the words out?), DULM for “Do you love me?” ICAY for “I care about you,” and IRLY for “I really like you.”

And some are just awesomely random, including IOAB for “I’m on a boat” (FYI); IOKIYAR for “It’s okay if you’re a Republican” (OMG so relieved); MSR for “Mulder/Scully Romance” (so frequently discussed it needs its own acronym); and NAK for “nursing at keyboard” (LULZ).

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