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June 12, 2010 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Standards editor Philip Corbett at the New York Times (allegedly) issues memo officially discouraging use of the word "tweet."

Dave Itzkoff says it's not true, without further explanation. Slate is asking readers to suggest alternatives for "tweet," preferably less cloying. (No word on proscriptions in the Bible.) Meanwhile, "k thx bye" usage at the Times skyrockets.
posted by hat (106 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
WTF are we supposed to use tw[the letter a]t?
posted by infini at 10:57 AM on June 12, 2010


TWEETING IN ONES CHEVY SHALL HENCE FORTH BE CALLED:

COMMUICATIONS IN AN AUTO NAMED AFTER A SWISS RACE DRIVER.
posted by clavdivs at 10:58 AM on June 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


(his brother Gaston was Billy Durants bodyguard and driver as well as a racer)

on topic WTF cares
posted by clavdivs at 11:00 AM on June 12, 2010


In retaliation, Twitter is now automatically changing all instances of "New York Times" to "Old Gray Mare, She Ain't What She Used To Be, Ain't What She Used To Be, Ain't What She Used To Be."

And, just like any neophobic criticism of Twitter I encounter, this reminds me of a certain Kelly cartoon.
posted by griphus at 11:01 AM on June 12, 2010 [8 favorites]


Chirp?

Twitter kind of screwed up it's name by not picking something you could easily modify. With "google" you can use it as a noun, verb, whatever. You could calls someone who googles a googler, if you wanted but that's actually what employees call themselves.

But because "Twitter" ends in er that doesn't work. Twitter is already the thing that does itself. In which case what are the people who use it? Twitterers, which just rolls off the tongue :)

And the 140 characters seem to to small to really be 'posts'. I guess that's what they'll go with, though.
And, just like any neophobic criticism of Twitter I encounter, this reminds me of a certain Kelly cartoon.
You being reminded of a kelly cartoon reminded me of the greatest kelly cartoon ever.
posted by delmoi at 11:11 AM on June 12, 2010


Older adults constantly overreact to new trends. Children and young adults complain incessantly about the older adults being clueless.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
posted by oddman at 11:14 AM on June 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


infini - only if it's past tense
posted by warbaby at 11:20 AM on June 12, 2010


The Japanese word for "tweet" is tsubuyaku, "to mumble". Maybe NYT could refer to celebrity mutterings.
posted by shii at 11:20 AM on June 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Twitter kind of screwed up it's name by not picking something you could easily modify. With "google" you can use it as a noun, verb, whatever.

Google is not really too happy about people using it as a verb because it might result in the loss of their trademark. I saw their chief legal officer talk once about this. Of course, a few minutes later he used "Google" as a verb, and then corrected himself with some slight embarrassment.
posted by grouse at 11:24 AM on June 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


"Posted on Twitter", obviously, just like "Posted on Facebook," it's not that hard guys.
posted by furiousthought at 11:25 AM on June 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


Goshdarned, constantly updating lexicon! Brought on by never-ending, impossible to keep up with change in technology and trends! Can't things just stay the way they were when I was I was young (hamburger) forever and EVER!?
posted by marimeko at 11:26 AM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


When the telephone was invented, no one felt they needed a new word for "conversation."

An "article" is an article, be it in a newspaper or magazine.

I "post" to Metafilter, Facebook, a blog, a forum - but not to Twitter. Twitter's special.

"Tweet" fills no need. It's just marketing, right from inside the language. Fuck them and their shitty neologism.
posted by regicide is good for you at 11:27 AM on June 12, 2010 [31 favorites]


Um... I'm not as angry about this at that made me sound
posted by regicide is good for you at 11:31 AM on June 12, 2010 [12 favorites]


I'm not on Twitter so it makes no nevermind to me, but I don't get why they say "tweet" in the first place. Why isn't a posting on Twitter called a "twitter"? The user should be called a "twitterer". The act of posting should be "twittering" and the past-tense should be "twittered". Simple, no?
posted by amyms at 11:34 AM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Don't be twee. Use smoke signals.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:39 AM on June 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


As I have been saying for years, it's called a goddamn "twirp," and people who do it are "twerpes."
posted by EL-O-ESS at 11:40 AM on June 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Too many awkward syllables, amyms. "Twitterer" doesn't exactly roll of the tongue. If you're going to spread your platform via word-of-mouth, you better make sure the mouth isn't going to have trouble with the word.
posted by griphus at 11:40 AM on June 12, 2010


Every once in a while I'm reminded there's a whole fucking tech company out there whose only "product" is a status update.
posted by dvdgee at 11:45 AM on June 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


I hate tweeple
posted by infini at 11:45 AM on June 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Too many awkward syllables, amyms. "Twitterer" doesn't exactly roll of the tongue.

But... But... Aren't all the cool kids multi-syllabic nowadays?
posted by amyms at 11:46 AM on June 12, 2010


hang on, I think I've pulled this one myself
posted by infini at 11:46 AM on June 12, 2010


I called it (self-link) "infernal bird-based jargon" and I stand by that. "Tweet" just bugs the hell out of me. I hope they choose not to use it, and the reasoning in the memo (legit or not) is good enough for me.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:47 AM on June 12, 2010


I refer to those who use t***** as "twats".
posted by Lisitasan at 11:58 AM on June 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


And birds the world over cancel their subscription to the New York Times.
posted by Splunge at 12:06 PM on June 12, 2010


Google is not really too happy about people using it as a verb because it might result in the loss of their trademark.

They don't care if people use it in a verb form, as long as people are referring to searching on google. And since that's the search engine most people use all the time it's kind of a moot point. In fact, Microsoft actually encourages people to use "bing" as a verb when referring to using Bing.
posted by delmoi at 12:09 PM on June 12, 2010


When the telephone was invented, no one felt they needed a new word for "conversation."

Before the telephone, you wouldn't 'ring' someone, at least not in the sense where you meant 'have a conversation with'.

But I don't like 'tweet' either. 'Toot' is the other term I've heard used to describe a post on Twitter, as in 'That was a funny toot'. Not much better.
posted by mattgeeknz at 12:12 PM on June 12, 2010


Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la meme chose? Or la #hashtag chose...

Twitter is one of those accursed things where invoking it turns into a discussion about the nature of it every single time. If that would go away, I'd happily coexist with it.
posted by carbide at 12:22 PM on June 12, 2010


Oh, NYT Standards desk. And here I was just about to forgive you for the review of Teenage Fanclub's first gig in NYC, back in 1991, where I can't remember a thing about the review except for some jackrabbit editor's insistence on referring to the band as "Teen-Age Fan Club" ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE FUCKING PIECE, A VERITABLE CUDGEL OF "WE'RE THE NEW YORK TIMES AND WE'LL TEACH THOSE SCOTTISH UPSTARTS HOW PROPER ENGLISH IS SPOKEN HERE!," BEATING ITS WAY INTO MY CONSCIOUSNESS FOR THE REST OF MY MISERABLE LIFE...

Angry? No. Not really.
posted by bakerina at 12:41 PM on June 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


I don't give two damns.
posted by jbickers at 1:03 PM on June 12, 2010


delmoi: "In fact, Microsoft actually encourages people to use "bing" as a verb when referring to using Bing."

Which to me suggests something ricocheting around randomly.

*bing*

*bing*

*bing*

*tilt*
posted by brundlefly at 1:12 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Its usage depends on how its used in a sentence; for instance: "Thanks for the follow! My name is Meg Grabowski and I will continue to tweet about SEO marketing strategies!"
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:16 PM on June 12, 2010


Helpful Graph
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 1:18 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


In fact, Microsoft actually encourages people to use "bing" as a verb when referring to using Bing.

Really? I read (on Metafilter somewhere) that Microsoft intentionally chose a name that's awkward to modify so that it won't be used as a verb and so that they won't be faced with the same sort of trademark problems Google is facing.
posted by painquale at 1:34 PM on June 12, 2010



*bing*

*bing*

*bing*


Ricochet Rabbit?
posted by Splunge at 1:47 PM on June 12, 2010


Whatever! What I'm really concerned about is the tuchus moratorium.
posted by jessamyn at 1:57 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Microsoft Bob. Microsoft Bing.

Microsoft Dorothy Lamour?
posted by pracowity at 2:04 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd prefer a bit of Microsoft Oh L'amour.
posted by griphus at 2:05 PM on June 12, 2010


Too many awkward syllables, amyms. "Twitterer" doesn't exactly roll of the tongue.

Is Roger Federer a Twitterer?
posted by thesmophoron at 2:24 PM on June 12, 2010


> "Posted on Twitter", obviously, just like "Posted on Facebook," it's not that hard guys.

Yep. When I heard Maddow say "you tweeted..." last year her stock price shot down in my index. It's "You posted to twitter.com", Rachel, not that company's silly catchphrase.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:26 PM on June 12, 2010


In fact, Microsoft actually encourages people to use "bing" as a verb when referring to using Bing.

I can't see this catching on. "Hang on, let me bing for the answer to that question"? It just sounds silly.

Bing always reminds me of the cherry variety. Mmm, cherries.
posted by spitefulcrow at 2:34 PM on June 12, 2010


So, when I post a tweet on Twitter it also posts on my Facebook. Does that mean it isn't a tweet, or is only a tweet when you read it on twitter, or is a facebook post tweeted on Twitter....and if no one reads it, did it make a sound?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:42 PM on June 12, 2010


Those that use twitter are twits, right? (twit: Idiot, a mentally deficient or self-defeating person).

The only times it seems people posting to twitter is newsworthy is when it makes them look like fools. Generally well known celebrities or politicians.

While my initial reaction to this service was scorn and apathy, enabling politicians and celebrities to publicly self-destruct seems like something of worth.

I'm not sure what to call their posts, but ideally it would have something to do with public meltdowns.
posted by el io at 2:44 PM on June 12, 2010


And, just like any neophobic criticism of Twitter I encounter [...]

Neophobic? Really? Neophobic??? My ass. Cutesy-poo-phobic, now that I'll cop to.

You know what's seriously annoying? Young, inexperienced ignoramuses who think "new" always means "better," and for whom, therefore, "neophobe" is the worst possible insult imaginable.

"That shit just ricochets off my mind."—Ted Nugent
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:51 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't see this catching on. "Hang on, let me bing for the answer to that question"? It just sounds silly.

As opposed to "google," which sounds deadly serious. :)
posted by brundlefly at 3:02 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm just waiting for Twitter to go away so I don't have to care about this.

Go away, Twitter.
posted by pracowity at 3:15 PM on June 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Last year during the Iran protests I was a little surprised to hear Wolf Blitzer on CNN use the term "tweet". And horrified that their news "source" was so random and without fact check.
posted by bukvich at 3:20 PM on June 12, 2010


I'm amused at the number of people who get their onion belts in a twist over a messaging system.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:41 PM on June 12, 2010 [10 favorites]


what is it, officially or allegedly?
you can't have both.
posted by krautland at 3:45 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


pracowity: "I'm just waiting for Twitter to go away so I don't have to care about this.

Go away, Twitter.
"

I'm waiting for the whole internet to go away. So there.
posted by Splunge at 3:58 PM on June 12, 2010


Hell yeah.. screw Twitter. Go NY Times!
posted by ReeMonster at 4:07 PM on June 12, 2010


> I'm amused at the number of people who get their onion belts in a twist over a messaging system.

I think in this case, people are rightfully a bit in a "twist" over the takeover of objectively descriptive language in favor of buzzspeak. The latter gives a false permanence to something that might not be around tomorrow.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:14 PM on June 12, 2010


I'm sorry about the upcoming loss of the other meanings of "twitter," which was a great word, and "tweet." But I'll live with it, just as the previous generation lived with the repurposing of "gay," and I myself had to finally admit that people will never again read "@" as "about" rather than "at." If "band-aid" never went away, the Twitter usages probably won't either, at least until the next technopocalypse.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:39 PM on June 12, 2010


I'm a relatively recent Twitter convert, personally. So, I still things like "I posted that on twitter."

They're welcome not to use the word "tweet" in the paper.

Every once in a while I'm reminded there's a whole fucking tech company out there whose only "product" is a status update.

Okay, except here's the thing: I hate myspace/facebook style social networking. I don't want the goddamn profiles, the pictures, the endless conversations back and forth, the spam, the friend requests, and the drama.

The only thing I want from a social networking site is occasional glimpses into what my friends are doing. And I'd like somewhere to post the silly observations I have, or vent about my trivial tribulations.

And twitter is excellent for what I want. It's social networking without the drama that has kept me from ever getting a Facebook account.
posted by Netzapper at 4:41 PM on June 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Twitter used to call them "updates"; "tweets" came from the Iconfactory in their Twitterrific app.

ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE FUCKING PIECE
Well, at least they were consistent. If you can't be right, be consistent.
posted by bonaldi at 4:43 PM on June 12, 2010


...people will never again read "@" as "about" rather than "at."

I have never heard @ used for "about". Searching through the Wikipedia entry reveals nothing. Elaborate, please?
posted by griphus at 4:56 PM on June 12, 2010


...people will never again read "@" as "about" rather than "at."

Has '@' ever been "about"? Before email addresses (where it's 'at'), the only place I can recall seeing it was constructions like "reception @ 6pm" and "meet @ Broad and Locust". Neither of those say "about".
posted by Netzapper at 5:00 PM on June 12, 2010


Honestly, I was on Twitter for a while. At first I did it as a joke. Then I met a few people who turned into internet friends. I never cared about the hype, nor did I follow craploads of people. OTOH I was communicating (yes actual sharing of information) with the likes of John Cleese, PZ Myers and Stephen Fry.

Later on I had a family issue and stopped contributing. Haven't "tw**ted" for a while. Everyone uses it differently.

I don't miss it. But it was fun for a time.

YMMV. Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.
posted by Splunge at 5:06 PM on June 12, 2010


The @ symbol has always meant "at" as far as I'm aware. Perhaps Countess Elena was thinking of the "circa" symbol which is similar to an @ but with a c.
posted by amyms at 5:06 PM on June 12, 2010


Really? I'll be. I distinctly remember that before about 1998, I used it and understood it to mean "about," as in "around" or "circa", in school notes and on chalkboards. I don't have a cite at hand, but I'll look for one.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:09 PM on June 12, 2010


I think it's a good thing for periodicals of record to not adopt uncritically words offered by a company in naming a commercial product. For a long time I resisted the word "Xbox," and I still don't like it. It's not pronounced like it's spelled ("ksabox?"). Really it should be "X-box" or "X-Box." Writing it the official way makes me feel like I'm contributing to the decay of the language.

(Yeah I know, beans. Don't even get me started on movies that incorporate numbers in place of letters, like "Se7en." I loathe them.)
posted by JHarris at 5:09 PM on June 12, 2010


One day, Twitter and Facebook will merge, and will be known as Twitbook.
posted by bwg at 5:11 PM on June 12, 2010


Heh. Forget what I said about the "circa" symbol. I was thinking of the copyright symbol, which makes even less sense.
posted by amyms at 5:13 PM on June 12, 2010


Don't even get me started on movies that incorporate numbers in place of letters, like "Se7en."

You know, sometimes I don't mind. It was actually pretty cute when they did it with S1m0ne (even though the name came from "Simulation One" [don't ask me how I know so much about a early-2000s romantic comedy.])

However, Se7en? Fuck that. No. That says Seten.
posted by griphus at 5:14 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hell is other twitters.
posted by Elmore at 5:43 PM on June 12, 2010


When the telephone was invented, no one felt they needed a new word for "conversation."

I beg your pardon, but Thomas Edison invented the word hello.

Now you are right, they did not invent a new word for conversation, but hello!

And for the record, if Alexander Graham Bell had his way, we would be answering the phone with "Ahoy!"
posted by captainsohler at 6:29 PM on June 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


if Alexander Graham Bell had his way, we would be answering the phone with "Ahoy!"

I answer the phone that way because man, fuck Thomas Edison the nasty dog electrocuter. Come to think of it, AGB wasn't that great either. Maybe I'll need to just pick up the phone and say "Yeah?"
posted by jessamyn at 6:32 PM on June 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


"I "post" to Metafilter, Facebook, a blog, a forum - but not to Twitter. Twitter's special. "

Did you say "blog"? As in "Blogger"... a subsidiary of Google, LLC?!

I remember back when people in this area were planning the first Silicon Valley gathering for weblogging in a Yahoo groups community. I argued it should be called a "weblogging" group, while they all argued for "blogging".

Seems to me that people like calling things by brand names and trademarks rather than, say, actual words... and by doing so, open the door for those who will tweet / have tweeted / have previously twote.
posted by markkraft at 6:56 PM on June 12, 2010


jessamyn: "if Alexander Graham Bell had his way, we would be answering the phone with "Ahoy!"

I answer the phone that way because man, fuck Thomas Edison the nasty dog electrocuter. Come to think of it, AGB wasn't that great either. Maybe I'll need to just pick up the phone and say "Yeah?"
"

I have occasionally made the observation that the answering of the phone used to be "Hello".

Now it's, "Where are you"?

Nobody cares. Including anyone reading this.

::sigh::
posted by Splunge at 7:47 PM on June 12, 2010


Roger Ebert on Twitter.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:52 PM on June 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Roger Ebert on Twitter."

Because when you're evaluating choices in social media, you *really* want to defer to the writer of "Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens".
posted by markkraft at 8:05 PM on June 12, 2010


None of you would believe this, but back in 1992 I owned a cat that my children had named "twitters." A more illtempered little beast you couldn't care to meet, fwiw but her kittens were cute as pie.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:11 PM on June 12, 2010


Google is not really too happy about people using it as a verb because it might result in the loss of their trademark.

OK, granting that this makes sense from a technical legal standpoint, isn't it outmoded in the web context? Even if Google legally "lost its trademark," they're still the only ones at google.com, which is where people naturally go when they decide "I want to google this." For other websites to try to coopt "google" would be counterproductive, as they'd just be promoting the google.com domain (i.e. their competitor).
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:22 PM on June 12, 2010


Sometimes when I answer the phone, I say "Telephone!".

Sometimes I say "Enchanted Delicatessen, this is the mustard speaking!"
posted by Crabby Appleton at 8:32 PM on June 12, 2010 [10 favorites]


NYT(16:06;6.30)And the NYT declared unto it's people; yea-"'Tweet' may be acceptable occasionally for special effect. But letuce look for daeft, 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'."

(mistakes in the above Sen-tence are in protest against NYT for the actions described in the link Jessamyn added)
About Google, it is going to be in the 'pad' (or Personal Data-Retrieval-Device [per-DRD, PersonalDRD, MyDRD, ourDRD, WE:DRD, billions of possible variations, where Apple can only have one set of hardware, there can be the 'official' google stuff, where you have a 'do no evil' guarantee, and more and more data services, with various companies making open source devices, and also cheaper 'associated brands' labels) market any month, whether android or Chrome based devices, they seem to be moving to providing a more cradle to cradle service, they will want no 'copys watering the brand', a series of sketchy copies can make a good name look less good I'd guess. They maybe aim to provide physical data-retrieval 'products', with integrated 'up-cycling'? There are examples of companies doing this to effect, it would be a nice 'non-evil' continuance of their behavior so far (besides putting lakes on peoples houses and such in arizona and such as it happened also with the further added extension of water.)

Bing Is Not Google:Repeated.Recursive Error.Error.Mandlebrot.
We are as samrt and as revolutionary in our thinking as those who publish our societies books and literature.
posted by infinite intimation at 10:06 PM on June 12, 2010


For other websites to try to coopt "google" would be counterproductive, as they'd just be promoting the google.com domain (i.e. their competitor).

They're probably afraid people will damage Google's reputation by selling crappy, buggy "Google" apps written by others. But they can't stop people from using "Google" in a product name if it's no longer a trademark. Isn't that they way these things supposedly work?

But another thing to consider in a big company is that the people there have conflicting opinions. The legal department is probably 100 percent officially against using "Google" as a verb, and that may have to be the official company stance, but most people at Google probably love that "google" has supplanted "search the internet" for many people.
posted by pracowity at 10:16 PM on June 12, 2010


they're still the only ones at google.com, which is where people naturally go when they decide "I want to google this."

No one enters URLs directly anymore. When the great unwashed masses want to Google something, they type [google] in a search box. If someone else were able to get a higher PageRank for [google], it'd be game over for Google.
posted by grouse at 10:40 PM on June 12, 2010


No one enters URLs directly anymore.

I don't know where you get that idea. If I want to go to Google, I enter "google.com" or I use the built-in search function in my browser.

I also don't know why you think most people get to Google by typing "google" "in a search box." If they're at a "search box," doesn't that imply they're already at their search engine of choice?
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:48 PM on June 12, 2010


There actually are a lot of people who will do things like type [cnn.com] into a search engine instead of entering the URL directly. If you haven't run into that phenomenon yet, consider yourself lucky.

I also don't know why you think most people get to Google by typing "google" "in a search box."

That was a joke, as it is even stupider than typing something like [cnn.com] into a search box. But actually, I'm sure there must be some people who do this.
posted by grouse at 10:55 PM on June 12, 2010


I also don't know why you think most people get to Google by typing "google" "in a search box." If they're at a "search box," doesn't that imply they're already at their search engine of choice?

Just this past Wednesday, I watched a man type "google" into his IE search bar. This brought him to the bing search results, for which "google.com" was the highest hit for "google".

He then clicked on google, which brought him to google.com, and proceeded to google the thing I'd asked him to google.

I was flabbergasted. And told him as much. His response: "I googled it for you. What do you mean?"
posted by Netzapper at 10:58 PM on June 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


There actually are a lot of people who will do things like type [cnn.com] into a search engine instead of entering the URL directly. If you haven't run into that phenomenon yet, consider yourself lucky.

My husband does this. It drives me insane! He has MSN as his homepage, and when he wants to go to ebay, for example, he types "ebay" into the MSN search box, and THEN clicks the link to the ebay homepage that shows up in the search results. It's making my eye twitch just thinking about it. I've learned to be far, far away from him when he's at the computer.
posted by amyms at 11:02 PM on June 12, 2010


I don't know that no one enters URLs anymore (I certainly do), but a lot of the less tech savy people use search instead of URLs in the way grouse is describing. For instance, if they want to log in to Facebook, they search for "facebook login" or something instead of entering the URL. This leads to oddness.
posted by brundlefly at 11:04 PM on June 12, 2010


And, just like any neophobic criticism of Twitter I encounter [...]

Neophobic? Really? Neophobic??? My ass. Cutesy-poo-phobic, now that I'll cop to.
Yeah, Neophobic is not a neologism we need, especially since we have "luddite" for that. And more importantly, it scans as "necrophilic" when I first read it. Which kinds of makes some sense, as in, people who hate twitter are in love with dead technologies. Or humping dead technologies. But that's a rather gruesome image for what you're going for.
I have occasionally made the observation that the answering of the phone used to be "Hello".

Now it's, "Where are you"?
Or "what's up?" But I think that's because we know who's calling now. When you pick up the phone it's actually more like "Hello?" it's almost a question.

As far as Google goes, They are not going to lose their trademark. this list of trademarks that have been lost to genericizing includes Netbook and Email, but they were never well know trademarks. Xerox never lost their protection. Neither did Kleenex. As long as they take some efforts, they are OK, they don't need to actually care. And as I said, as long as "to google" means "to look something up on Google" they're fine. It's not the verbing that's the problem it's the genericizing.

Also, typing URLs. Firefox 3.5, when they brought in the "Wonderbar", I hardly ever type an entire URL, but I will enter the first few letters of a site I visit a lot and it'll pop up. The nice thing about the wonderbar is that you don't need to do anything to set it up, like bookmarks or whatever.
posted by delmoi at 1:03 AM on June 13, 2010


Even if it's to a web site I've never been to before, if I type "example.com" in the address box of firefox, it will take me to "http://www.example.com".

I've had it in my mind that there was a google affiliation involved with this...
posted by Trochanter at 8:26 AM on June 13, 2010


No one enters URLs directly anymore.

Novice computer users do not type URLs into an address bar or search box, this is totally true. The different browsers have different default search engines built into the search box in the browser and/or they will do what they call "search from the address bar" and automatically do a search for whatever you typed in there that is not a URL. For a lot of people, they just type words into one of these boxes and figure that what they get is "the answer." The idea of URLs is vaguely confusing to them.
posted by jessamyn at 8:29 AM on June 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Neophobic is not a neologism we need, especially since we have "luddite" for that.

I find "luddite" to be a little inapplicable here without a significant revision of the definition. I can't really accuse anyone on Metafilter of being a luddite unless they've got some sort of greasemonkey plugin running that eliminates YouTube links and websites with a copyright >1990. However, the vitriol Twitter gets every time it is mentioned -- seriously, it turns into Purim here every time a new Twitter FPP pops up -- is just pure dislike of something based out of incomprehension of where the "posting stuff onto a website" medium is going. It's a fear that Twitter is replacing more deeper forms of discourse (forum posting, blogs, etc.) without realizing that it is, in fact, supplementing them. I don't know of a single individual who decided to say "oh screw long-form writing, I can get everything out in a day's worth of tweets Twitter postings."
posted by griphus at 10:23 AM on June 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's a fear that Twitter is replacing more deeper forms of discourse (forum posting, blogs, etc.) without realizing that it is, in fact, supplementing them.

I think it's more that there are a lot of MeFites who love to hate. Your favorite X sucks.
posted by grouse at 10:28 AM on June 13, 2010


I'm tweeting this on the metafilter right after I cancel the google.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:12 PM on June 13, 2010


I've been on the internet since I was a tiny child and I never actually type URLs into the address bar. I have Google as my homepage, and when I want to go to, say, Facebook, I just google "fb" and click on the appropriate link. Especially when the search box is already in focus, it's SO much easier - I do not understand the disdain!
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 5:11 AM on June 14, 2010


I've only been on the internet since I was 30, I guess that gulf of perception might be partly envy rather than disdain per se
posted by infini at 5:28 AM on June 14, 2010


I'm tweeting this on the metafilter right after I cancel the google.

Half of Slashdot just exploded.
posted by griphus at 6:21 AM on June 14, 2010


Half of Slashdot just exploded.

The other half mocked them. worth1000 has a photoshop contest going.

I expect it to show up on bngbng in a couple days.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:03 AM on June 14, 2010


Worth1000 has a photoshop contest going.

I believe you mean an Adobe® Photoshop®-based image editing contest.
posted by griphus at 10:05 AM on June 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


How does the word "deft" not appear in this discussion? Nobody has a problem with the Times asserting that those usages are "deft"?
posted by sudama at 10:56 AM on June 14, 2010


Philip B. Corbett has elaborated on the 'Tweet' debate.
posted by Stan Carey at 6:58 AM on June 15, 2010


Meh. His alternatives. "use Twitter, post to or on Twitter, write on Twitter, a Twitter message, a Twitter update" are overlong. Maybe it makes sense in the print edition (which they seem to still regard as their flagship, even as the frigates are making First Rates obsolete) but online it's more jargon than jargon. Everyone who can find what I'm saying knows what a tweet is. Let's move on, shall we?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:34 AM on June 15, 2010


From the link posted by Stan Carey:
One interesting note: Of the dozens of blogs and Web sites worldwide that weighed in, exactly two actually contacted me directly to ask about the issue. To them, I pointed out that my note to colleagues did not attempt to “ban” the use of “tweet.” Regular readers of After Deadline know I seldom attempt to ban anything outright — partly to leave room for editorial judgment, and partly to avoid demonstrating how little effect these memos really have.

But except for special effect, we try to avoid colloquialisms, neologisms and jargon. “Tweet” — as a noun or a verb — is all three. Yet it has appeared 18 times in articles in the past month, in a range of sections.
The web over-reacts to a relatively sensible suggestion, though it seems that everyone online understands what "tweet" means.

On that: in one of the past language debates, a fellow MeFite made a great comment on how language is living and changing (exact who and when forgotten, sorry). If everyone understands a word to mean something, even if that is not the original intent of the word, this new understanding becomes fact as much as the original usage. You can't wish it away, just wait for it to fall out of usage, create something viral enough to usurp the offending usage, or ignore it. Marketspeak or communial usage that reached a critical tipping point, it doesn't matter, if the use is out there, it's set.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:55 AM on June 16, 2010


"Communial" isn't a word.

But that doesn't matter, some illiterate can make it up and use it, and some other illiterates can pick it up (much like dogs with fleas), and pretty soon, why, it's a perfectly cromulent word! Ain't that swell?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:16 PM on June 16, 2010


I noticed i-noticed the use of Daft deft; I fixed it for him to Dæft. -Much more English!
I am a member of the Ae'ers - we are like the Masons that people who like to invent common enemies often speak of and attribute all bad events to; but, except, it is mostly just me. And actually I like it when 'you' try to fill an ocean (language) with a bucket ('suggesting' not to use tweet)
(Archeology Archaeology has already seen the wisdom of my nascent revolutiono-lingual ways; tomorrow, Ænthropology.)

We Englishizers seem happy to fight every new word... yet we have clumsy things like "the face which was so beautiful in a non traditional way"-- rather than one wicked word that captures the Bæutiful nature; like 'oh-noes' then know one will no when Yoo mean the one, or the other!
Twitter;
What a horrible place for me to have to draw my Fictal-anarcho-linguistical line in the sand! Pahlaerhsis! Tweets twæts!
Still bitter over that whole 'great vowel shift' I suppose it should rightly be described as the 'Great Vowel Movement'.
*Nt yr' mthrs anarchæst
posted by infinite intimation at 9:22 PM on June 16, 2010


Neophobic is not a neologism we need, especially since we have "luddite" for that.

No, they really do have different meanings. Cats are neophobes; they are not Luddites.

I don't know of a single individual who decided to say "oh screw long-form writing, I can get everything out in a day's worth of tweets Twitter postings."

I know several people who've given up their LiveJournals, saying "I'm spending all my time and doing all my posting on Twitter and Facebook these days!" Some have gone so far as to delete their LJs. And yeah, Facebook allows slightly longer text than Twitter, but I really don't get the impression that they're writing the same kind of multi-screen posts they used to on LJ.
posted by Lexica at 6:51 PM on June 17, 2010


I heard the Times also uses outdated terms like "miles" and "pounds." WTF?
posted by Eideteker at 8:19 AM on June 21, 2010


"Communial" isn't a word.

But that doesn't matter, some illiterate can make it up and use it...


I assume it would take some literate to commit it to print. Yeah?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:49 PM on June 22, 2010


I don't write so that illiterates can understand me. (Look the word up in a dictionary, or ask someone literate to do it for you.)
posted by Crabby Appleton at 4:17 PM on June 22, 2010


Not very communial of you, Crabby.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:59 PM on June 22, 2010


Do you have a crush on me, Church? Maybe the word you're thinking of is "connubial", not "communial". (One might be forgiven for thinking that "connubial" must be a made-up word.)
posted by Crabby Appleton at 5:45 PM on June 22, 2010


The words do what I tell them to do.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:09 PM on June 22, 2010


Oh, stop with the double entendres, Humpty.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:04 PM on June 22, 2010


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