New York Times Banishes the Word 'Tweet'

Standards editor calls it 'jargon'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2010 1:25 PM CDT
A screenshot of a Twitter search for "New York Times"   (Twitter)

(Newser) – The cool kids may call their Twitter posts “tweets,” but no one ever accused the New York Times of being a cool kid. Phil Corbett, the Times’ new standards editor, has sent out a proclamation banning the use of the word “outside of ornithological contexts,” reports the Awl. He argues that the word hasn’t yet “achieved the status of standard English,” and hence isn’t fit for serious news articles.

“We try to avoid colloquialisms, neologisms and jargon,” he writes. “And ‘tweet’—as a noun or a verb—is all three. … We don’t want to seem Paleolithic. But we favor established usage and ordinary words over the latest jargon or buzzwords.” He adds that while “tweet” could someday be as ubiquitous as “e-mail,” it could just as easily fade into oblivion if Twitter is supplanted by a new service. You can read the whole memo over at the Awl, which, in Corbett's defense, says his argument "isn't terrible, actually."

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