Qwerty –> Bqhatevwr

For the un-hip reader of this blog, Tweets are short messages sent from cell phones. The limitation on the number of characters that can be used to compose a text has led to the use of all sorts of novel abbreviations such as ‘u r’ for ‘you are,’ etc. In addition, instead of having an abbreviated designation at the end of an internet address to signal what kind of file is contained in a message (.txt or .ex or .pdf) to signal computers what program to use to access the information, twitter messages are preceded by the symbol # or ‘hashtag’ comparable to the use of @ to signal an email address.

Qwerty, of course, is a ‘word’ made up of the first six letters on the first line of a traditional typewriter and, perhaps because there are different arrangements on some computer keypads, as well as for foreign scripts, ‘qwerty’ has become a recognized dictionary word and can be used in the game of Scrabble. Using a cell phone to compose messages is complicated by the fact that the letters are on the number pads (like on a regular phone) and the designated has to be selected in a two-step process, which is probably difficult to back-track when a mistake occurs. Which probably accounts for former Senator Scott Brown tweeting #Bqhatevwr when, for some reason, he meant to send #whatever a third time. “Whatever” is supposed to be a hip response by young things — i.e. Scott Brown using it is ludicrous to begin with. Bqhatevwr is hillarious.

Anyway, at the risk of being totally tedious, Bqhatevwr becoming an internet sensation is a good example of how words like qwerty come about. Sometimes function determines form. Or should I say form follows function? Oh, and poor Scott should stop trying to be hip.