Obama’s Twitter error is an excuse to learn the word “twitterpated”

If you just want to know what twitterpated means, please click here. But if you have a minute or two, there’s a fun story leading up to that delightful word.

Over the weekend, U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev gave a joint press conference. Obama said of the Russian President, “During his visit to Silicon Valley this week, he visited the headquarter of Twitters, where he opened his own account.  I have one as well, so we may be able to finally throw away those “red phones” that have been sitting around for so long. ”

Two items in this quotation are worth mentioning: Obama’s Twitter gaffe, and the reference to “red phones.”

The red phones in question comprise the famous hot line between the White House and the Kremlin, installed after the Cuban Missile Crisis, which many analysts believed was exacerbated due to the difficulty of communication between world leaders. The lovely rotary phones that typically represent the Washington-Moscow hotline are emblematic of the Cold War and the transformation in relations between the two quasi-superpowers.

As for President Obama’s incorrect rendering of Twitter, how many different conclusions can we draw from it?

1. Maybe Obama isn’t quite as tech-savvy as he lets on.

2. Maybe the public is guilty of a minor case of schadenfreude
regarding a chief executive who is famous for his self-control and unruffled demeanor.

3. Maybe Obama’s blooper reveals something about the nature of Twitter itself. Is a misstatement of the name of a Web site designed to blast millions of messages a day a big deal, or is it indicative of the abbreviated, grammatically-lax discourse that proliferates on the site and on digital devices in general?

Draw your own conclusions from this traditional definition of twitter, the verb:

  1. to utter a succession of small, tremulous sounds, as a bird.
  2. to talk lightly and rapidly, esp. of trivial matters; chatter.

And now, here is the definition of  twitterpated: “confused by affection or infatuation.”

Please share your opinion on how this term reflects on President Obama’s remarks, Twitter itself, or even this blog entry, in the comments below.

Body found morning after crash.

The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI) September 15, 2006 Byline: Karen Rivedal and Danya Hooker Sep. 15–A dead man not found until Thursday morning may have been the victim of a crash police responded to Wednesday night, police said.

Police spokesman Mike Hanson said the dead man, identified as Travis M. Zeier, 19, was found by a passer-by in a ditch on the east side of Stoughton Road, south of Rieder Road, sometime before 7 a.m. on Thursday. Investigators now believe the man was hit by a vehicle that crashed into the perimeter fence of the Dane County Regional Airport on Wednesday night, Hanson said. Police responded to the Wednesday night crash shortly after 9 and found a 23-year-old man had been driving northbound on Stoughton Road when his vehicle crossed the median and southbound lanes and hit the airport fence, Hanson said. The 23-year-old did not give any explanation for why his vehicle crossed the median and several lanes of traffic. Four Madison police officers and two Dane County sheriff’s deputies investigated the scene and cited the man for inattentive driving. Investigators had no reason to believe there was more to the crash until Zeier’s body was found Thursday morning. A preliminary investigation by police and the coroner’s office indicated Zeier died after being hit by a motor vehicle. Further investigation led police to believe the 23-year-old struck Zeier on the east side of Stoughton Road before crashing into the fence on the west side. site 2001 ford focus website 2001 ford focus

“Evidence at both scenes have led investigators to believe that the body found is connected to last night’s crash,” Hanson said. Although Hanson did not provide specific details of the evidence, he said tire marks, glass and the vehicle, a 2001 Ford Focus, all linked the two scenes. Dane County Coroner John Stanley pronounced Zeier dead at the scene and investigators believe he was killed on impact. An autopsy was scheduled for this morning, Stanley said. Police spoke with the 23- year-old man and had taken no further action toward him on Thursday, Hanson said. It is not known whether alcohol was a factor in the incident. About a half-dozen investigators were on the scene Thursday morning. Police closed the northbound and southbound lanes of Stoughton Road for several hours, blocking it off between Kinsman Boulevard near Madison Area Technical College, south of the airport, and at Hoepker Road near Interstate 39-90-94, north of the airport.

The road was re-opened by mid-afternoon.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.

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