[LINK] The Guardian (sensibly) moves to Twitter...

Ivan Trundle ivan at itrundle.com
Wed Apr 1 14:28:47 AEDT 2009

(From The Guardian today...)

• Newspaper to be available only on messaging service

• Experts say any story can be told in 140 characters

Consolidating its position at the cutting edge of new media  
technology, the Guardian today announces that it will become the first  
newspaper in the world to be published exclusively via Twitter, the  
sensationally popular social networking service that has transformed  
online communication.

The move, described as "epochal" by media commentators, will see all  
Guardian content tailored to fit the format of Twitter's brief text  
messages, known as "tweets", which are limited to 140 characters each.  
Boosted by the involvement of celebrity "twitterers", such as Madonna,  
Britney Spears and Stephen Fry, Twitter's profile has surged in recent  
months, attracting more than 5m users who send, read and reply to  
tweets via the web or their mobile phones.

As a Twitter-only publication, the Guardian will be able to harness  
the unprecedented newsgathering power of the service, demonstrated  
recently when a passenger on a plane that crashed outside Denver was  
able to send real-time updates on the story as it developed, as did  
those witnessing an emergency landing on New York's Hudson River. It  
has also radically democratised news publishing, enabling anyone with  
an internet connection to tell the world when they are feeling sad, or  
thinking about having a cup of tea.

"[Celebrated Guardian editor] CP Scott would have warmly endorsed this  
- his well-known observation 'Comment is free but facts are sacred' is  
only 36 characters long," a spokesman said in a tweet that was itself  
only 135 characters long.

A mammoth project is also under way to rewrite the whole of the  
newspaper's archive, stretching back to 1821, in the form of tweets.  
Major stories already completed include "1832 Reform Act gives voting  
rights to one in five adult males yay!!!"; "OMG Hitler invades Poland,  
allies declare war see tinyurl.com/b5x6e for more"; and "JFK  
assassin8d @ Dallas, def. heard second gunshot from grassy knoll WTF?"

Sceptics have expressed concerns that 140 characters may be  
insufficient to capture the full breadth of meaningful human activity,  
but social media experts say the spread of Twitter encourages brevity,  
and that it ought to be possible to convey the gist of any message in  
a tweet.

For example, Martin Luther King's legendary 1963 speech on the steps  
of the Lincoln memorial appears in the Guardian's Twitterised archive  
as "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a  
nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but  
by", eliminating the waffle and bluster of the original.

At a time of unprecedented challenge for all print media, many  
publications have rushed to embrace social networking technologies.  
Most now offer Twitter feeds of major breaking news headlines, while  
the Daily Mail recently pioneered an iPhone application providing  
users with a one-click facility for reporting suspicious behaviour by  
migrants or gays. "In the new media environment, readers want short  
and punchy coverage, while the interactive possibilities of Twitter  
promise to transform th," the online media guru Jeff Jarvis said in a  
tweet yesterday, before reaching his 140-character limit, which  
includes spaces. According to subsequent reports, he is thinking about  
going to the theatre tonight, but it is raining :(.

A unique collaboration between The Guardian and Twitter will also see  
the launch of Gutter, an experimental service designed to filter  
noteworthy liberal opinion from the cacophony of Twitter updates.  
Gutter members will be able to use the service to comment on liberal  
blogs around the web via a new tool, specially developed with the  
blogging platform WordPress, entitled GutterPress.

Currently, 17.8% of all Twitter traffic in the United Kingdom consists  
of status updates from Stephen Fry, whose reliably jolly tone, whether  
trapped in a lift or eating a scrumptious tart, has won him thousands  
of fans. A further 11% is made up of his 363,000 followers replying  
"@stephenfry LOL!", "@stephenfry EXACTLY the same thing happened to  
me", and "@stephenfry Meanwhile, I am making myself an omelette!  

According to unconfirmed rumours, Jim Buckmaster, the chief executive  
of Craigslist, will next month announce plans for a new system of  
telepathy-based social networking that is expected to render Twitter  
obsolete within weeks.

 From the archive
Highlights from the Guardian's Twitterised news archive

OMG first successful transatlantic air flight wow, pretty cool! Boring  
otherwise *sigh*

W Churchill giving speech NOW - "we shall fight on the beaches ... we  
shall never surrender" check YouTube later for the rest

Listening 2 new band "The Beatles"

Berlin Wall falls! Majority view of Twitterers = it's a historic  
moment! What do you think??? Have your say

RT at mohammedalfayed: FYI NeilHamilton, Harrods boss offering £££ 4  
questions in House of Commons! Check it out


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