Tweeting is for Birds

“Some social-media fans may disagree, but outside of ornithological contexts, ‘tweet’ has not yet achieved the status of standard English,” wrote Phil Corbett, New York Times standards editor, to NYT staffers recently. More than that:

“Except for special effect, we try to avoid colloquialisms, neologisms and jargon. And “tweet” — as a noun or a verb, referring to messages on Twitter — is all three. Yet it has appeared 18 times in articles in the past month, in a range of sections. […] “Tweet” may be acceptable occasionally for special effect. But let’s look for deft, English alternatives: use Twitter, post to or on Twitter, write on Twitter, a Twitter message, a Twitter update. Or, once you’ve established that Twitter is the medium, simply use “say” or “write.”

Now, here’s the fallout from the Times’ new policy and what they’ve come up with to keep “tweet” out of the paper’s esteemed pages. In this article on LeBron James’ decision to move to Miami and the ensuing Twitter buzz, the paper went all out not to use the word “tweet”. It seems, the editors had their Thesaurus handy.

Old media being ridiculous. Pity.

Published by

Tekla Szymanski

Tekla is a New-York based independent content strategist and front-end web developer, a multilingual journalist, writer and editor (both offline and online).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *