WTF, YOLO, CYA!
Do you understand what I just wrote? Do you even care? If you have kids, you better learn, because the world of internet slang moves faster than an iPhone 5’s microchip.
I wasn’t prepared for this. I mean, I know the basics: LOL, OMG, BTW, FWIW and such. I even throw in the occasional IMHO for style points.
But everything changed when my 10-year-old princess started using Instagram. Like any sneaky dad, I signed up as a fake user and began monitoring her posts and messages. It didn’t take very long to realize that I had no idea what anyone was talking about. Forget the NSA; I felt more like one of those World War II code breakers trying to figure out an Enigma machine.
So are you ready for a crash course in web slang? Let’s begin.
Know Your Words
Digi-speak isn’t just about acronyms, abbreviations and emoticons. The web has given birth to its own language and terminology, and it’s all confusing to old farts like us.
My crib sheet:
Meme: A cultural symbol, group behavior, or social idea that manages to go viral on the web. Examples include “Catfishing” (a unique glossary term of its own, BTW), “Naked Selfies,” “Tebowing,” “Cat Videos,” or any web-related activity that wastes hours of otherwise productive time.
Trolling: Another fish-related term. Basically, trolling amounts to internet bullying or ganging up on someone who was stupid enough to post something on the web in the first place. But it’s more complex than simply being a jerk; the art of trolling requires you to say or write something that strings the victim along, lures them in and convinces them that you mean what you’re saying. Then you drop the bomb on them that it’s all a set-up. This is complicated, let’s keep going.
BISLY: Not everyone on the internet wants to fight, bully or ridicule. BISLY stands for “But I Still Love You.” Basically, this is what you say after you’ve trolled someone and humiliated them in public.
Chive On: This refers to a site called TheChive, short for Archive, which is a blog filled with edgy photos, videos and chat topics. You might see postings with “KCCO,” “Keep Calm and Chive On.” The term has expanded to include any sort of inappropriate web shenanigans. If your teenager is chiving, chances are you’ve seen it before. If your 8-year-old is chiving, you’ve got a problem on your hands.
PAW/PIR/POS: All of these acronyms refer to parents. “PAW” = Parents Are Watching. “PIR” = Parents In Room. “POS” = Parents On Site. If you see any of these, it means your kids are onto you. Time to create a new fake identify to track them. Also look for “CD9” or “Code 9” which means parents are around.
I could go on and on, but there are only so many words in a column. The good news is, the web is full of places to help you become web proficient.
Urban Dictionary is a great starting point. It contains millions of user-submitted terms, and the definitions and examples are pretty funny. If you’re a parent, I recommend a few stiff drinks before heading there.
Noslang.com is another good source. The interface isn’t nearly as slick as Urban Dictionary, but it has a cool “slang translator” feature where you type in the acronym or words, and it retrieves the meaning for you.
And of course, there are lots of Apps for slang. For starters, check out Chat Slang 500. It’s painfully simple and presents different acronyms one at a time, like a quiz. Once the term is revealed, you then have options to copy it into an email, text or posting. One flaw: the app doesn’t let you proactively search for specific slang terms; you need to stumble upon them while browsing through the queue.
That concludes this brief intro into the frightening world of webspeak. TTYL!