The Compulsive Copyeditor

June 11, 2010

Love the Tweeter, Hate the Tweet?

Filed under: language degenerating,language evolving,slang,vocabulary — amba12 @ 12:33 pm

Here’s your chance to do something about it.

Right from the start I felt ridiculous “tweeting” (not so much “twittering,” oddly) and felt it was infantilizing for adults to accept this lingo:  tweeps, twibbons, twibes . . . it’s as if we’ve all become a gene-spliced, lisping cartoon chimera of Elmer Fudd and Tweetie Bird.  According to the piece at the link, many people feel the same way about Facebook’s Botoxed “like” — forcing you to react with the verbal equivalent of a smiley face to, say, a powerfully despairing piece on the oil spill.  (It can be no coincidence that both Tweetie and the smiley face are my least favorite color, yellow.  And why do I hate yellow?  I’ll be Jewish and answer a question with a question*:  why was yellow the color the Nazis chose for the star of David they made the Jews wear?  Huh?)

However, these coinages have a despicable tenacity, like cockroaches in cracks.  They multiply and become ineradicable.  As Ann Althouse once admonished me when I bridled at accepting the word “vlog,” which sounded to me like a Soviet torture.

“Blog,” on the other hand, I adore.  Some people hate it.

The only hope is to coin better ones to begin with.  And in that respect, we’ll win some and lose some.

* Disciple:  Why does a Jew always answer a question with a question?

Rabbi:  And why should a Jew not answer a question with a question?



  1. blurt?

    Comment by El Pollo Real — June 11, 2010 @ 12:47 pm | Reply

  2. I thought earlier Stars of David were yellow…the Nazis made them out of two triangles of fabric. Sometimes one triangle would be another color besides yellow for multiple designations. Pink+Yellow=Homosexual+Jewish, Red was Communist, Blue was Political Prisoner, Brown was…mentally challenged, I think? There were a lot of these designations, but yellow was always reserved for part of the Star of David.

    Comment by Ron — June 11, 2010 @ 12:55 pm | Reply

  3. “Twitter” sounds too close to “twit” AND “titter” to me, and when it is used as a verb, as in “I twittered,” I find it God awful and deeply unfortunate in implication. For that reason, I vastly prefer “tweet,” which is one of the sounds that birds make when they sing. As you point out, different people dislike different things, and c’est la vie. But now you know why my reaction is totally opposite to yours, with regard to “twittering” and “tweeting,” “twitters” and “tweets.” I’d way prefer someone tweet at or to me, than twitter at or to me!!! : )

    I’m OK with tweeps, because it strikes me as no more ridiculous than “peeps” (as in my peeps), which I got used to years ago. So perhaps that’s a generational thing. More important, “tweeps” is very descriptive. Someone says it and I know exactly who and what they mean. I don’t see it as particularizing infantilizing, myself, though I can understand why others might react differently.

    I’m inclined to agree with you about others (twibes, twibbons and such), although, honestly, I don’t care very much either way.

    Comment by reader_iam — June 11, 2010 @ 1:05 pm | Reply

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