The editors have spoken. Phil Corbett, standards editor at The New York Times, distributed a memo among its staff stating that said “Tweet” can no longer be used as a verb. Because “tweet” has not yet been formally introduced into the English language via a printed dictionary or encyclopedia, The New York Times staff must uphold the sanctity of the written word and completely ignore colloquial pop culture speech.
Corbett states, “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.”
Acceptable alternatives to this now taboo term include “use Twitter, post to or on Twitter, write on Twitter, a Twitter message, or a Twitter update.”
Interestingly enough, Corbett has yet to take offense to the verb “to friend” – as in “I friended him on Facebook” – or “to Google” – as in “I Googled the address,” both of which have been featured in Times articles or blog entries in the past few months.
Fortunately, thanks to the AP Style Book breaking down and changing “e-mail” to “email” and “Web site” to “website, we are a few steps closer to embracing the common social media vernacular.
If you think “tweet” should be an acceptable verb, tweet me @LaurenBegley.