It seems that the informal nature of social media is having a corrosive effect on the formal form of you in languages such as French, Spanish and German. The BBC News Magazine highlights the problem as it particularly relates to Twitter or 'Touiteur' to give it its French transliteration. Much of the argument relates to the fact that the technology of social media is considered by many French to be a Trojan horse for other social values. In effect, to paraphrase McLuhan, the medium is the message, in so much as it unconsciously shapes how people use language. Those in France who want to preserve the useful distinction between the intimate and the public use of you may need to come up with a handy shortform version of 'Vous' for the tight confines of the 140 characters of Twitter.