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Well, I honestly tried to search for this but I drowned in twit* and tweet* results.

Should I write:

  • "my tweet" or "my twit"?
  • "I am tweetting" or "I am twitting" ("to twit" vs. "to tweet")?

Referring to messages on twitter.com, what are the differences in their usage and meaning?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

To tweet a tweet

Twitter.com prefers the noun Tweet to be capitalised but dictionaries have it without the capital T

  • Please tweet this to your followers
  • I was tweeting about Twitter yesterday

Oxford dictionaries:

tweet:

A posting made on the social media website Twitter: he started posting tweets via his mobile phone to let his parents know he was safe Oxford Dictionaries.com

Twit:

A silly or foolish person. Oxford Dictionaries.com

Mostly used in British English

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I don't get the part about “Twit is similar to idiot in British English”, could you explain what you mean by that? –  F'x Feb 5 '11 at 16:42
1  
@FX_: The meaning of twit is similar to idiot. wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=twit –  Matt Эллен Feb 5 '11 at 16:46
    
@FX_ Google translator: twit - A silly or foolish person –  rem Feb 5 '11 at 16:48
    
Yes, that's exactly why I asked. There are tricky differences and not very pleasant ones to ignore them. And I twitted me all the time before! –  Gennady Vanin Геннадий Ванин Feb 5 '11 at 16:55
    
And why is "a Tweet" capitalized and "to tweet" not? Can I write "a tweet" and what is the difference with "a twit"? –  Gennady Vanin Геннадий Ванин Feb 5 '11 at 17:02

Twitter is a brand and, as such, you should follow the usage established by the brand itself. Looking at http://blog.twitter.com/, I see they describe the messages as Tweets (singular: a Tweet), with a capital T, and the action of sending them as tweeting (verb: to tweet), no capitalization.

That rule should be followed until established usage starts to differ from what the brand proposes, either because people think it's silly (like writing Yahoo! with its exclamation mark all the time) or because they think it's ugly (I would personally not use a capital T for tweets, as it disrupts the standard rules of capitalization).

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+1 Why they did not call it tweetter.com? I miss something. Was it intentional to make joke of others? The "tweetter" and twitting are with double "t" while the "tweeting" with one, is it correct? –  Gennady Vanin Геннадий Ванин Feb 5 '11 at 17:17
    
@vgv8: Probably because the brand/word "Twitter" is more likely a corruption of "atwitter": nervously concerned : excited <gossips atwitter with speculation — Time>. "To tweet", pre-Twitter, would have meant "to make a bird-like sound", roughly. –  JasonTrue Apr 1 '11 at 7:32

It also depends on the level of formality of your writing. In the summer of 2010, the standards editor for the New York Times declared the policy for the NYT:

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.

...

"Tweet" may be acceptable occasionally for special effect. But let's look for deft, English alternatives: use Twitter, post to or on Twitter, write on Twitter, a Twitter message, a Twitter update. Or, once you've established that Twitter is the medium, simply use "say" or "write."

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+1 thanks, a new headache about nothing –  Gennady Vanin Геннадий Ванин Feb 5 '11 at 18:03

Tweet is a noun so "my tweet" is correct. "I am twittering" is the correct verb. Note the word twit used on twitter has no relations to the British use of the word twit used for an idiot. The co-founder for Twitter explains twit or twittering is the sound a bird makes. http://www.bitrebels.com/social/is-it-twittering-or-tweeting/

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The word twit is by no means limited to the Isle of Britain. –  tchrist Mar 15 at 14:37

protected by TimLymington Nov 24 at 12:54

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