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The Untold Story of the Origin of the Word Tweet

When Twitter first launched in July 2006, no one used "tweet" as a noun or a verb. Instead, the service referred to the tweeting process as "Twittering" and those who used the service as "Twitter-ers." But that was all about to change.

In December 2006, Craig Hockenberry of software development studio Iconfactory joined Twitter. He loved the service but ultimately wasn't happy with the current user experience, Hockenberry recently wrote on his blog. Enter Twitterrific, an application for reading and posting updates to Twitter. But the first iterations of the product had a slight problem. In Hockenberry's mind, it was clear that the app needed nouns and verbs. That's because "Post a Twitter Update" was too wordy and boring, in his opinion.

So in January 2007, the Iconfactory team started calling them "twits." But that still felt a bit awkward. One Twitter developer, Blaine Cook, had been testing the beta releases of Twitterrific. Early that month, Cook sent Hockenberry an email suggesting changing the word "twit" to "tweet." Hockenberry immediately made the change. But Twitter didn't immediately embrace the new terminology.

It wasn't until June 2008 that the word "tweet" appeared on the company's blog without quotation marks. 

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