Madison Avenue advertising agencies spend thousands of hours and dollars when deciding on just the perfect name for a new product. They know that the wrong name can sink a product, and the right name can help guarantee a long life. They are careful that a product's name should have no negative connotation that might turn off customers. They run consumer opinion panels to judge how "real people" react to the product name and its claims. In short, they heed Shakespeare's question, "What's in a Name?"
And then there is Twitter. Talk about an infelicitous choice of names. Every time I hear the name I laugh and go "No thanks." What does twitter mean? For starters, the verb means "
to utter a succession of small, tremulous sounds, as a bird; to talk lightly and rapidly, especially of trivial matters; chatter; to titter; giggle; to be in a flutter." It's transitive verb form is to twit, meaning "To taunt, ridicule, or tease, especially for embarrassing mistakes or faults; to reproach or gibe." Its family noun? Twit, meaning "an insignificant or bothersome person." In slang a twit is " a foolishly annoying person; a stupid person." Twit/twitter is associated with other tw- words such as twaddle and twerp and through sound rhyme to nitwit-- none of these words having a particularly positive connotation.
What are the synonyms for twit or twitter as a verb? "banter, caricature, cartoon, chaff, deflate, deride, expose, fleer, gibe, haze, humiliate, jape, jeer, jest, jive, jolly, josh, kid, lampoon, laugh, laugh at, make a fool of, make a game of, make a laughing-stock, make fun of, mimic, mock, needle, pan, parody, poke fun at, pooh-pooh, pull one's leg, put down*, quiz, rag, rail at, rally, raz, rib, ride*, roast, run down, satirize, scoff, scorn, scout, send up, show up, sneer, takeoff, taunt, travesty, unmask ." What are the synonyms for twit as a noun? "blockhead, dolt, donkey, dope, dunce, fool, idiot, imbecile, jackass, jerk*, nitwit, numbskull, simpleton."
Telling someone to tweet you on Twitter doesn't improve things, either. For one thing, tweet is simply a synonym for twitter. For another, the meaning of tweet is "the short, weak cry of a young bird, a chirp; the normal sound of an animal."
So, basically Twitter is inconsequential, uber short sound bites that are insignificant, uttered by and/or to those of limited verbal talent, mostly for the purpose of saying nothing, but saying it in a way that may haze the recipient. Think not? I spent some time wandering through Twitter-ville strictly for the purpose of determining how and with what subject matter people were twittering. There were thousands of permutations of the basic "I'm going to_________ Catch ya later." I now know what hundreds of people had for breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack. I read "Hey Dude" enough times to fill a dictionary. I learned more than I ever wanted to learn about the condition of people's various body parts, particularly their digestive systems. According to the wisdom of Twitter, gas is the number one problem in America, and I don't mean the kind that goes into cars. And yes, a whole lot of the utterances on Twitter were not kindly meant. Honesty requires that I mention that there were a few attempts at serious conversation that I found, if serious conversation and thought is really possible with a 140 character limit on "messages."
Twitter is being sold as a great social networking site. If this is social networking, we are all in deep trouble. Most of what's on Twitter is noise to fill in the silence that so many people seem afraid of. It's a surface flitting about with no way and no intention of allowing real communication and/or real socialization to take place. It's a poofy substitute for the real thing.
Now, don't you feel all warm and fuzzy that you've gone to Twitter and twitted or tweeted someone?
You may not like the name but twitter is going to stick around for a while, at least until the next new internet fad comes along and kills it. People don't go to twitter because it's good, just because it's the latest in thing.
As I remember you don't much like cellphones either. What did your generation like to say--get with the program! A lot worse things then being able to instantly contact someone.
Twitterers are the new "chattering class," I guess, except the conversation is less stimulating.
Don't talk to the manager of my department about Twitter. He hates it! At a recent department meeting he came out and banned any twittering during work hours. He said he was paying us for 35 hours of work, not 5 hours of work and 30 hours of twitter. Since the company pays for our Blackberries he said that we're going to have to start paying for them unless we can show that it was only work conversation that is on them.
Bless you for this posting. Whenever I say I don't like twitter and won't use it I get those smirks and knowing looks. More then once someone has told me that yes, they could understand why someone my age wouldn't know to appreciate the benefits of twitter. They always assume it's a generational thing, and it isn't. I just plain find it annoying, full of nonsense, no real conversation and not even enough room if you do want to leave someone a real message.
Actually, twitter is mostly used by older people trying to be cool. Young people aren't really interested - they're texting.
Need a definition of what you consider older Tesyaa. Plenty of people in their 20s and 30s who Twitter. Not so many in their 50s and 60s.
I'm 43 myself. From what I understand, a lot of the tweeters are people my age (I am not one of them). Teenagers are not interested.
Why the hostility? Twitter is just microblogging, after all.
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