I received an email newsletter from Harpers Bazaar, the upmarket fashion magazine, referring to the ‘twittersphere’, it made me cringe and I started thinking about whether the word twittersphere is necessary and even a bit old-fashioned.
I realise that the locus of some topics or dialogue is within Twitter and so of course referring to this source is legitimate, however the suffix –sphere (and this applies to others such as –verse and for certain other domains, such as blogs) has the feel of something dated, like the term ‘information superhighway’. We don’t need a word like this to help understand or feel comfortable with the concept of a community like Twitter.
In short I think it has become a pleonasm, a redundant fixture to the word Twitter. Why not just say there has been ‘talk of X on Twitter’ instead of ‘talk of X in the twittersphere’. We know that anything newsworthy or worth referring to that comes from Twitter, that one might use the term twittersphere for, is inherently as a result of the community characteristics of Twitter (as opposed to a single person saying something). That is what defines Twitter as a medium, so let’s drop the –sphere.