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Twitter Takes the English Language by Storm

It’s not exactly a secret that digital media is changing the face of marketing and PR at an incredible pace. But perhaps more surprising is the way that the two leading social media platforms are now impacting not just on our communication habits, but also on the way we speak. Over the last twelve months Facebook has become a verb, as in ‘Facebook me’. And now, the Global Language Monitor has announced that ‘Twitter’ was the most popular word or phrase in the entire English language during 2009.

The word Twitter beat ‘Obama’, ‘H1N1’, ‘stimulus’ and ‘vampire’ as the most popularly used word in the English language this year, and it was also the second most searched topic of 2009 according to Microsoft’s search engine Bing. Only Michael Jackson was searched for more since the engine launched in June, with the phrases ‘swine flu’, ‘stock market’, ‘Farrah Fawcett’ and ‘Patrick Swayze’ out-Binged by the year’s most high profile social media sensation.

Looking at the words and phrases that make up these lists, there are clear reasons for most of them, with the swine flu/H1N1 pandemic probably the story of the year and popular icons like Jackson, Fawcett and Swayze all passing away in 2009. But for Twitter to beat all of these in terms of public interest is extraordinary and shows just how much impact the likes of Twitter and Facebook now have. Even the word ‘unfriend’ recently scooped the Oxford English Dictionary’s Word of the Year.

Are you as amazed and surprised about Twitter’s impact on everyday English this year as me? Please let us know in the comments.

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