Twitter is one of those double-edged swords of the internet community. While it can be a powerful tool for good, such when Iranian protesters tweeted their unrest in June, it can also be a tool for evil, judging by the amount of spam Twitter sends out. Still, I think one of the worst crimes Twitter and its users have committed is the way they butcher the English language with spinoffs and spoofs of the word twitter in terms for its users and companies who utilize it. I shall attempt to catalogue the some of the worst offenders:
Words that describe the Twitter service and those who use it: I swear I did not coin any of these terms:
It all started out very innocently. There was a website called Twitter, on which tweeters could post a tweet. Then the service expanded enough that it became a twittersphere, on which twitterites posted their twitworthy musings. When power-users entered the scene, they became the twitterati whose twitticism reached twitical mass. Now if you desire to be a twittizen of the twitterspace, you must follow proper twittiquette, lest you be deemed a twittiot.
It’s getting to the point where the vocabulary of social networking overlaps with that of Elmer Fudd. I’ll admit it was funny when Stephen Colbert made Meredith Vieira lol on the Today Show when she asked him if he used Twitter. He answered, “I have twatted” on national television; I’m sure the NBC producers loved that. And I’m sure if Randall Munroe had drawn XKCD #181 “Interblag” in 2009 instead of 2006, he would have included “tweeto” in his column of internet nickname prefixes. (I blog on the tweetotubes, myself.)
Companies that use Twitter for advertising or part of their service: This was really bad in the days when people didn’t know what Twitter was, and companies had to include plays on tweet or twitter in their names to denote that they utilized the website. There are still some bad ones out there:
- Best Buy’s @Twelpforce: Best Buy rolled out this service in July of this year when users like @ComcastCares were starting to become popular. They even put out a couple of corny videos to advertise it. No matter how useful they may be, I just can’t forgive them for their name.
- Twaitter: Twaitter.com is a service that times your tweets for you so that advertisers can reach the widest audience. I keep thinking it has to be a group for out-of-work busboys.
- Twinester: Twinester.com organizes groups and communities of Twitter users. You wouldn’t know it from their name, though. My first thought was that it was a club for fans of a strong thread or string composed of two or more smaller strands or yarns twisted together. Their logo’s coloring suggests that they intend their name to be pronounced “twi-nest-er,” rather than “twine-ster,” unfortunately.
- Twetris: Despite the corny title, this flash game turned out to be a decent representation of Tetris, using recent updates organized into blocks of varying sizes and colors. I approve of the game, though not the name.
What Twitter-related names make you cringe? Leave a comment, or (heaven forbid), tweet me about it.