New York Times Writers Not Allowed to Use "Tweet" Word

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The New York Times has banned its writers from using the word "Tweet" when referring to Twitter posts.

NY Times standards editor Phil Corbett said the word may be popular but it has not yet achieved standard English status; hence, it should not be used outside of "ornithological contexts."

In a memo which went out recently at The NY Times, a copy of which was obtained by the website The AWL, Corbett called the "Tweet" word "inherently silly."

"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," Corbett told The NY Times writers.

Corbett said the more acceptable terms should be "Twitter message" or "Twitter update" when referring to "Tweet" as a noun. When used as a verb, "To Tweet" should be replaced with "Use Twitter," "Post to Twitter" or "Write on Twitter."

"Tweet" may be acceptable occasionally for special effect. But let's look for deft, English alternatives," Corbett wrote in the memo.

The move was supposed to prevent confusion and alienation among NY Times writers and readers who may be unfamiliar with the microblogging site.

In January 2010, RJMetrics reported that Twitter had 75 million users. Of this number, 10 million to 15 million users were active.

Dennis Schooley is the founder of Schooley Mitchell Telecom Consultants, North America's largest independent telecom consulting company.

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