Tweets and twits

There's been some confusion in mainstream news venues lately about Twitter-related terminology. I imagine that most of y'all who read this blog know more about Twitter than I do, but still figured it couldn't hurt to try to clear up some confusion.

One point of confusion in the press lately is about what to call one who twitters. The answer is "twitterer," but some news sources have been calling such a person a "twitter."

Which ties in with the question of what to call a single Twitter posting, and what to call the act of posting such an item.

Twitter's official term has always been "tweet." For example, see their help page—it uses the plural noun "tweets" and the verb "tweeting."

There are a few people who dislike the word "tweet" and have tried to change it to "twit" or something else—for example, a blog entry from a year ago advocated "twit."

Which seems weird to me—perhaps she's just twitting us? The noun "twit" and the verb "twit" already have meanings that give a very different connotation to their use in connection to Twitter. To me, the noun and verb "tweet" sound playful and insubstantial—they suggest that the postings on Twitter are fun and small. Using "twit" for that would suggest to me that the postings there are obnoxious and/or taunting.

Anyway, that entry links to someone else's entry where he says he refuses to use the word "tweet." But then at the bottom of his entry, the automated blogging system has provided a link that allows readers to "Tweet This Post."

So despite some people's unhappiness with "tweet," I don't think it's going away anytime soon.