Monday, Nov. 03, 2008


A "tweet" is a short message used to update family, friends and anyone else who cares about your daily (or even hourly) activities. Although the term was originally used to describe updates sent via the website Twitter — which limits messages to a maximum of 140 characters — people now use it to mean any short update sent by a mobile device. Some tweets develop big audiences; the Twitter member known as "darthvader" has more than 18,500 followers of his Star Wars-themed tweets. The format can also be used to convey serious information quickly: many of those caught up in the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, sent tweets about what they were seeing on the ground. The tweets formed a harrowing play-by-play by citizen journalists.

TIME parses the top buzzwords of 2008: