Conservative leader David Cameron caused a stir last week when he used inappropriate language during a live radio interview. While explaining why he doesn’t use Twitter, Cameron exclaimed that, “Too many twits might make a t*at.”
I’m sure many people will sympathise with Mr Cameron’s ignorance of the etymology of the word as it is commonly used as almost an affectionate term of insult among friends.
However, he has revealed himself to be much more out-of-touch through his incorrect use of net terminology. A post on Twitter is known as a tweet, not a “twit”. Tweet can be used as both a verb and a noun. This is actually just normal English usage. Birds tweet or twitter, and the sound they make is a tweet or a twitter. Neither the verb nor the noun is “twit”.
A far better version of the joke would therefore have been, “Too many tweets might make a twit.”
The Conservative leader’s unfortunate joke showed not only his ignorance of bad language, but also of common online terminology and even of basic English. He really did make himself look a twit.