“Tweet,” Basically Banned Word, Makes New York Times Headline; Internet Wins


The Great Tweet-Banning of Early Summer 2010 seems like ages ago. It went like this: Times standards editor (? !) Phil Corbett unleashes a memo insisting that writers and editors “look for deft, English alternatives” because “tweet” is “jargon.” Everyone basically agrees, but thinks it’s pretty funny. Corbett insists he did not “ban” the word. Everyone’s like, dude, you’re the boss: “when you get a ‘guidance’ from your boss, it typically means ‘do this or risk being given guff over it.'” Semantics! For a month, euphemisms reigned. Today, “tweet” is in the paper. And it’s in a headline.

This is what rebellion looks like:

And then, Bob Herbert addresses the issue head-on, without even mentioning his editors or silly Times standards:

We’ve got cellphones and BlackBerrys and Kindles and iPads, and we’re e-mailing and text-messaging and chatting and tweeting — I used to call it Twittering until I was corrected by high school kids who patiently explained to me, as if I were the village idiot, that the correct term is tweeting. Twittering, tweeting — whatever it is, it sounds like a nervous disorder.

Three in one paragraph! (Emphasis mine.) He gets it in there two more times, both as a gerund. To be honest, I didn’t read the column. (Who has time when there’s tweeting to do?) But I think we’re getting Herbet’s message loud and clear.