“Tweet” Becomes An Official Word In Oxford English Dictionary

Although David Cameron famously denounced the incessant use of Twitter back in 2009 that hasn’t stopped the Oxford English Dictionary in including it into their new 2013 edition.  Although the word “tweet” has been in the dictionary for years, it has only previously been included in relation to bird song.  Now “tweet”, to post a message on Twitter, will be included in the hallowed pages of the OED for the first time.

There are over 340million tweets posted everyday worldwide and it has become an online phenomenon.  It is so popular that even The Pope and the Dalai Lama have Twitter feeds.  The OED decided to include the word “tweet” in this edition because Twitter has become such an important part of daily life for many so they bent the rules and accepted the word because the dictionary is the accepted authority on the evolution of the English language.

John Simpson is the chief editor of the OED and stated that he had broken the rules to include “tweet”, in the social networking sense, into the 2013 edition because the rules state that a word has to be current for ten years before it is ever considered.  However because the word is such a phenomenon they have decided to go against their code of practice.  Interestingly in the 2011 edition the word “retweet”, which involves sharing another persons tweet, was included.

Other technology words which have entered the June 2013 edition are crowdsourcing, big data, e-reader, stream, mouseover and redirect.

Twitter is so powerful in current times that it has even helped shape US elections.  In the 2012 election race Barack Obama and his administration used the social network to rally voters when he was defending his reign as President.  Obama is the third most followed person on Twitter with 32,819,023 followers.  After he won the election he famously posted a picture of himself and his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, stating “Four more years”.

In December 2012 The Pope sent his first tweet through the Papal account of Pontifex.  He tweeted “Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter.  Thank you for your generous response.  I bless all of you from my heart”.

Twitter was officially launched in July 2006 by entrepreneur Jack Dorsey.   However by 2012 there were over 500million registered users and Twitter handles more than 1.6billion search queries per day.  Based in San Francisco, Twitter is in the top ten most visited websites on the Internet.

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