But that’s not why I think it’s time to retire the “tweet”. I wanted to save it. I felt that it was clearly becoming independent of the brand that had adopted it. I argued that we should call all microblog posts tweets to avoid this silly cycle of tweets, skeets, threets and now xeets. But with any trace of the name slowly being removed from the social media landscape, the “tweet” increasingly feels part of a bygone era.
It was meant to be somewhat short. Something remarkable in the art of its brevity. In a tweet, Roger Ebert once compared the 140-character blog to poetry because of its necessary brevity. Now, if you pay enough, you can have up to 4,000 characters in a tweet, or you can get 500 characters for free on Threads, almost five times Twitter’s original character limit. You no longer have to be so economical with your words.
But the real reason we need to stop calling microblogging posts tweets isn’t because microblogging itself is slowly losing its micro, or because X is changing the Tweet button. We need to stop using that because I’ve really been trying for the past few weeks since I encouraged us all to call them tweets and it sucked. “Hey, did you see that thread tweet” sounds dumber than “hey, did you see that thread post” when it’s a 500-character write-up about someone’s Diablo IV build. Ditto for “Can you believe what that lady tweeted on Mastodon?”
So folks, we’ll just have to stick to “post”. It’s not that funny, it doesn’t hurt anyone’s brand, and it’s not going to neatly explain a situation like “the president just tweeted.” But at least it’s easy to say.