Subtweet: On Twitter, a tweet that refers to a person without including his or her Twitter handle; the online version of talking about someone behind his back. Compressed from “subliminal tweet.”
Via The Daily Dot.
As a recent post on The Awl archly put it:
One of our greatest fears as social animals is that someone (or a large group of someones) might be mocking us behind our backs, in ways so silent or subtle that we might never know that we are in fact being mocked. Is this happening to you, right now, on Twitter, while you remain ignorant of it? Yes. Yes it is.
I started seeing “subtweet” a few months ago – it’s been in circulation for at least three years, according to Urban Dictionary, although I haven’t identified the moment of conception – and reached a much different conclusion about its etymology: I thought “sub” came from “subcontract” or “substitute” and that subtweets were ghostwritten. “Subliminal” – “below the threshold of conscious perception” – never occurred to me at all, and I’m still not convinced it’s an apt term for the practice.
What would be better? Well, there’s an old term from the world of gossip journalism, “blind item,” that could be adapted (“blind tweet”). The use of “blind item” in the gossip sense goes back to the 1930s (“chiefly U.S.,” says the OED). Blind items are very much alive: see “Which High-Fashion Model Has a ‘Baby Daddy’ Who Started a Blog to Defame Her?”
By the way, although I read this Buzzfeed post about subtweets, and all the comments, several times, I still can’t tell you whether an “intimifave” is an intimate favorite or an intimidating favorite.
I did, however, eventually find a definition for “canoe tweet” (aka Twitter canoe), which is mentioned in the subhed but not explained in the post: “to make some argument and stick someone's handle at the end of the tweet (instead of doing it as a reply), forcing their followers to have to click through to see what the argument was even about, i.e.,‘Some people don't understand subtweeting. @shani_o’”