I recently discovered that there’s an AP Stylebook Twitter feed (@apstylebook) which made me far more excited than I have any right to be. One of the first things I learned is that the correct style for “tweet” was recently amended (from the original “Tweet”).
That made me wonder why AP hasn’t yet changed what many writers and web professionals think is the archaic ruling on “Web site” and “e-mail.” I vastly prefer (and use, when I can) “website” and “email.” To me, “Web site” hails from a time when we talked in hushed tones about the World Wide Web. (Even the “www” has disappeared from many URLs by now.) “E-mail” still represents “electronic mail,” but we’re so accustomed to it as its own form of communication that we usually specify “snail mail” when we’re talking about something delivered by the postal service.
Don’t get me wrong — it’s a good thing that style is generally slow to change. It exists for the sake of consistency, so amending the rules significantly every few years would defeat its purpose. And I’m sympathetic to the fact that, when the internet emerged and created its own lexicon, institutions such as AP and Webster’s had to establish a protocol before most of us had an AOL account. (For the record, Webster’s sides with AP, while MLA and APA style have made the switch.)
But come on, AP. Wouldn’t 2010 be a good time for a change?