Unaware of its own oblivion, the NY times decided that it must remain even more irrelevant in the realm of new media (was that 150 characters?) by proscribing its writers from using the term “tweet” in all copy.
Phil Corbett (don’t follow him on Twitter!), the standards editor at the the NY Times, issued the following memo asking writers to abstain from the invented past-tense and other weird iterations of the magical noun-verb “Twitter.”
Some social-media fans may disagree, but outside of ornithological contexts, “tweet” has not yet achieved the status of standard English. And standard English is what we should use in news articles.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.Of course, new technology terms sprout and spread faster than ever. And we don’t want to seem paleolithic. But we favor established usage and ordinary words over the latest jargon or buzzwords.
One test is to ask yourself whether people outside of a target group regularly employ the terms in question. Many people use Twitter, but many don’t; my guess is that few in the latter group routinely refer to “tweets” or “tweeting.” Someday, “tweet” may be as common as “e-mail.” Or another service may elbow Twitter aside next year, and “tweet” may fade into oblivion. (Of course, it doesn’t help that the word itself seems so inherently silly.)“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.”
And I just thought the Times was banning the phrase “advertising revenue”?
Well, it is apparent that traditional print media is finding itself in a very sensitive position. New outlets like the Times seem willing to embrace only so much of today’s omnipresent new media technology. Quite frankly, I think it’s somewhat noble of the Times to take a stand against some of the more vapid jargoneeering so common in technology. But what about “re-tweet”?
SOURCE: The Awl