Wednesday, 1 April 2009

If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter - T.S Eliot

Just came across an article from a leading broadsheet newspaper in the UK about how they’re switching to using Twitter to publish their stories.

I suspect they might be pulling the nation's leg, but the idea itself has got us thinking.

Twitter, by its very nature, a very here-and-now media. It’s transient and it’s great for the incidental postings and I dare say there will be plenty of updates around the G20 summit in London today (hopefully on a more positive note).

I’m not so sure about anything more than incidents though. It’s certainly impressive to see the massive amount of work going into ‘twitterising’ the entire history of the planet ever by the Guardian but how many people will really look back at uber-short stories with little understanding of the complexities behind it all. Try explaining World War 2 in 140 characters. Ok you may argue that stories can be covered over a series of Twitters but that defeats the point of it. It’s great for breaking news but anything more than that requires more effort.

That said, Twitter is great and it’s interesting to note how far the world has come in embracing technology to change the way we receive our information and also are involved with it. Everyone has a story, everyone is a journalist and to say something succinctly with very limited real estate does take some skill and I admire people who can do it.

By the way, I’m not sure I completely agree with the point about any story being told in 140 characters (but then maybe I’m just old fashioned for preferring the ‘novel-esque’ 160 character limitation provided by SMS).

Of course with all of this you’ll still have people who want more detailed news from TV, the internet and (shock, horror) that papery stuff you can get from your local newsagent (or paper delivery person if you’re lucky enough). I know my mother wouldn’t have a clue about Twitter, RSS, Atom, blogging etc and even if she got past the technology aspect she’d have to then learn a new language! LOL? ROFL? GR8? I can hear the tutting of dismay right now…

I’m about to pop out to grab a coffee and enjoy the lovely sun we have in London right now. Maybe I’ll tell you all what I bought…via Twitter of course. :o)

1 comment:

  1. Twitter is certainly interesting, but in the Guardian case it's a really a new medium for content. Here's a parallel: look at a breaking news story in a newspaper. It starts with maybe an inch column hidden away in the recesses of the paper. As the story breaks, it graduates to a full page news article, a leader column, or perhaps even the front page.

    If it's done well I can see Twitter filling a similar function for The Guardian and their Net Generation readers. Interesting.


Please don't post spam. Its tiresome.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.