What do you, dear reader, call a posting on Twitter? I'm guessing the chances are high that you call it a tweet, like pretty much everyone else I know. Apart from the editorial elite at the New York Times that is, which has just banned the word 'tweet' from being used in conjunction with anything other than birds making chirpy noises, on the grounds that it is a silly word amongst other things.

According to reports the New York Times has sent a memo out to contributors asking them not to use the word tweet, in which a man with the title of 'standards editor' says: "outside of ornithological contexts, “tweet” has not yet achieved the status of standard English" and insists that "standard English is what we should use in news articles".

Phil Corbett, the standards editor in question, then goes on to justify his assertion with some nonsense about favouring established usage over jargon, and how regular people using Twitter would not use the word. Really? I think Mr Corbett might be surprised, if he actually bothered to ask a bunch of Twitter users about this, as to just how many of them do. However, the really telling bit, I feel, comes towards the end of the memo when Corbett admits that "Of course, it doesn’t help that the word itself seems so inherently silly".

The official advice from the New York Times appears to be to use the words 'say' or 'write' which is odd, if the standards editor really wants to avoid confusion, as I don't think anyone actually 'says' anything on Twitter unless you include offsite links to Audioboo recordings...

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

8 Years
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Last Post by SHNOOKY

I think Mr. Corbett would certainly be surprised how pervasive the Twitter language is. I don't even use Twitter and I can't help but hear this language all over the media, in my personal life, and in passing. Thanks for sharing.


What a difference a year and four months makes? That news story was posted 16 months ago, Twitter has become more pervasive since then...


Its probably closed to tripled since then, if not more. Twitter is a monster of a social media, its like global texting and everyone has the same number.

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