While we’ve known for some time that various government agencies monitor our online activities for possible indications of terrorist plots and other nasty happenings, it appears that a few operatives at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have become so frustrated at the plethora of acronyms in tweets and messages that it’s led them to create a glossary of Twitter slang [pdf] to make things a little easier.
“With the advent of Twitter and other social media on the Internet, the use of shorthand and acronyms has exploded,” it says in the guide’s introduction, adding that its contents should prove “useful in your work or for keeping up with your children and/or grandchildren.”
Currently with 2800 entries across a whopping 83 pages, the acronyms cover everything from your run-of-the-mill regulars (LOL, OMG, GR8, etc.) to more bizarre entries that might have you mumbling a quiet WTF? under your breath.
For example, ever heard of DWISNWID? Means, do what I say, not what I do, apparently. GNSTDLTBBB means good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite, though I can’t imagine that one gets much use among hardened terrorists planning their next attack.
Meanwhile, here’s one we could probably all make use of from time to time: YTB: YouTube Poop. And finally, how about ITIBFBTFBI: I think I’m being followed by the FBI. Actually, I made that last one up, but if we all start using it, it should have a good chance of getting in the guide.
The FBI’s acronym manual came to light following a Freedom of Information request highlighted on MuckRock, a news site that exists to promote government transparency and accountability.
The request asked the FBI to make public any of its documents that provide information on how to interpret so-called ‘leetspeak’, an informal language seen on the Internet where standard letters are often replaced by numerals or special characters.
Now that the FBI’s own lovingly compiled guide has been published on the Web, it’s sure to become a valuable reference tool for anyone stumbling across a confusing acronym online – heck, the UK government might even find it useful.