Re: verb forms related to Twitter ?

Subject: Re: verb forms related to Twitter ?
From: Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2011 12:56:23 -0700

On 9/14/2011 7:00 AM, Peter Neilson wrote:

Monique's inquiring mind wants to know about
capitalized âTweetedâ.

http://support.twitter.com/entries/77641

It appears that they are trying to cut new pathways within the field of trademark law. They say you cannot use misspellings of their trademarks. The resulting discussion of verb forms goes into areas I cannot even bring myself to mention.

Twitter seems to be pushing limits a bit when it says, "Please remember to capitalize the T in Twitter and Tweet!"

Style rules suggest that a Twitter post is a "tweet," with a lowercase "t." Twitter wants to inject its branding into the documents of others by requiring an uppercase "t." Unless, there is a risk of losing support from Twitter, like they block an account because someone used proper style rules, then I say to use a lowercase "t."

What Twitter is saying about "confusion" is correct, but they are stretching things a little bit and seem to want to compel others to assist with co-branding their product for free.

TESS at the US PTO (http://tess2.uspto.gov/) shows many registered trademarks of "tweet." When used in reference to a post on Twitter, a tweet is a verb and not a brand name. Most style guides require that brand names be capitalized, but this requirement does not apply to actions of the brand. Discussions of Xerox and Google, illustrate this rule. People inappropriately would say they would "Xerox a document," when they referred to using a Xerox copier to copy a document. Today, people will "Google the Internet," when they use the Google search engine. Any forms of Xerox and Google, must be capitalized, even if they are inappropriately used as verbs. I think Twitter is stretching style rules when it requires the capitalization of "tweet."

I think that if Twitter wants to be difficult in requiring what looks like advertising for Twitter as part of a the TOS, then, in the long run, they may lose support from companies that do not want to break various grammar and style rules just to comply with the demands of Twitter.

I favor Tony's suggestion of calling a "tweet" what it is, a "post" to Twitter. Skip the entire co-branding, advertising, what-not that Twitter is trying to foster.

Really, there are multiple social media applications that accept posts, so whether a person or an automated application posts to Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Google+, a collection of cell phone subscribers, an RSS feed, or any number of other media applications, a post is a post, and only a post to Twitter is a tweet. I think it is best to avoid the word "tweet," since I favor transferable documentation. What if the Twitter part of an application was replaced by something else. A simple search and replace can change "Twitter," but do you really want the hassle of changing all references to communication with the social media application? One additional consideration is that posts to Twitter have a character limit for what is fully displayed in timelines, the word "tweet" has one more letter than the word "post," so logically, the word "post," is a better choice for describing posts to any social media.

Lauren


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Follow-Ups:

References:
verb forms related to Twitter ?: From: Monique Semp
Re: verb forms related to Twitter ?: From: Donna McManus
Re: verb forms related to Twitter ?: From: Peter Neilson

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