what’s in a name

Last week I asked my twitter followers what tweets are called in Google Buzz. Buzzes? That’s a lame term if you ask me. Today I stumbled across the Wikipedia entry for Twitter, and found this interesting quote from Jack Dorsey on the naming of Twitter (emphasis mine):

The working name was just “Status” for a while. It actually didn’t have a name. We were trying to name it, and mobile was a big aspect of the product early on … We liked the SMS aspect, and how you could update from anywhere and receive from anywhere.
We wanted to capture that in the name — we wanted to capture that feeling: the physical sensation that you’re buzzing your friend’s pocket. It’s like buzzing all over the world. So we did a bunch of name-storming, and we came up with the word “twitch,” because the phone kind of vibrates when it moves. But “twitch” is not a good product name because it doesn’t bring up the right imagery. So we looked in the dictionary for words around it, and we came across the word “twitter,” and it was just perfect. The definition was “a short burst of inconsequential information,” and “chirps from birds.” And that’s exactly what the product was.

Coincidence? I doubt it. It looks to me as though Google lifted the name for Buzz, it’s new status update engine, from Twitter’s discarded table scraps. You lose 3400 points for lack of originality Google.

February 15, 2010 at 3:23 pm

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