[Ads-l] "Does She Have _A_ TikTok?"

Martin Kaminer martin.kaminer at GMAIL.COM
Wed Mar 31 22:32:07 UTC 2021

I'm perplexed by the use of the indefinite article, mostly but not
entirely by young people, when asking if someone is active on a
particular social media platform. This seems more common with
platforms preferred by younger people -- instagram, tiktok etc. -- and
less say Facebook (I don't recall anyone ever saying "Does she have
_a_ Facebook?" and certainly not "Does he have _a_ Gmail?").  I've
interrogated several GenZ's about this and they seem clear that this
is correct and are aware that this syntax elides the word "account"
(They are actually asking "Does she have a TikTok account"). I
understand colloquially dropping the word 'account', but inseting the
indefinite article continues to perplex me. Does anyone have any
theories?  One young social media aficionado insisted there is a
distinction to be made between asking whether someone has an account
on a particular platform and whether they have the app on their phone
but I found this unconvincing.
All explanatory suggestions welcomed.
~~ Martin Kaminer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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