Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Too Bad Haaretz isn't moving this way

If only Haaretz would switch its format to Twitter, they wouldn't be able to malign the IDF or Israel in as so many words...

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 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! Delicious!"

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

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד


nmf #7 said...

Seriously?? This is real?
But cool in a way...although it reduces the intricateness of the English language to 140 characters that include abbreviations.

Shaul B said...

April 1st hasn't caught on so much in Israel - not part of the culture here. That explains why I've been "taken" twice already today... including this story! :)

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

NMF: Its an April Fools joke...(see the tags below in the post :)

Shaul: April First used to be serious business here in Israel!

There used to be April First news items on the radio and in newspapers....lately, it seems we take ourselves much too seriously.

Here are a few from 1994:

Operation Elijah

The Israeli Army Radio in Jerusalem interrupted a broadcast to announce the completion of a top-secret plan known as “Operation Elijah.” This plan involved the secret air-lifting of a lost tribe of black Jews from Gabon to Israel. This lost tribe reportedly constituted the entire Jewish population of Gabon. Uri Gordin, head of the Immigration and Absorption Agency, then came on the air to discuss the logistics of the airlift. He said that the tribe was to be placed “somewhere in the south,” and he requested French-speakers to help the tribe adjust to their new home. The immigration desk at Ben Gurion airport soon received numerous calls from people offering their aid. Gabon actually has only a very small Jewish community, comprised almost entirely of expatriate Israeli business people.

Israeli Tax Refund

The morning news magazine on Israel Radio announced that, due to a computer error, the Income Tax Authority had collected too much tax from most of the population. As a result, the government would be refunding the overpaid taxes over the next few weeks. Dan Tichon, chairman of the Knesset state control committee, was then interviewed. He angrily condemned the mistake and declared that he was launching his own investigation into the matter. The prank apparently fooled Finance Minister Avraham Shohat. After hearing the news, he immediately called senior tax officials back from their vacations to investigate how a computer error of this kind could have occurred. The prank was similar to a 1959 April Fool’s Day hoax in which a Hawaiian deejay declared that the U.S. Government was refunding taxes to Hawaiian residents.

rutimizrachi said...

New Guardian-inspired bumpersticker: Only twits tweet.

Gee a Moron said...

I failed to consider the dateline but I knew that this was fishy because I don't see any way to make money out of this...

binyaa said...

Chag Purim Sameach
The Guardian is a big joke in any format
April 1

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