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The Guardian Shifts To Twitter After 188 Years of Ink 211

teflon_king writes with news that renowned British newspaper The Guardian will be abandoning its paper-and-ink distribution scheme and publishing all articles and news as Tweets. Quoting: "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."
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The Guardian Shifts To Twitter After 188 Years of Ink

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  • by LingNoi ( 1066278 ) on Wednesday April 01, 2009 @10:54AM (#27417295)

    I wonder if this will make the guardian more interesting to read..

  • The line of people who want to post in this thread just to get an "achievement" can start here...
    • by AvitarX ( 172628 ) <me AT brandywinehundred DOT org> on Wednesday April 01, 2009 @10:59AM (#27417459) Journal

      Achievement Whore, the new Karma Whore.

      • I, for one, welcome our new Achievement Whore Overlords!

      • How about achievement spaders? There have got to be "secret" or unusual achievements sprinkled around the site. Maybe "Had a missing option comment moderated +5" or "Successfully included a rickrolling in an article summary"?
    • by bigtomrodney ( 993427 ) * on Wednesday April 01, 2009 @11:03AM (#27417557)
      Screw the achievements, where are all the PONIES?!
      • Your post advocates a

        (X) moronic ( ) Totalitarian (X) consumer-driven (X) Charles Brosonish ( ) Governmental

        approach to humor. Your "OMGPonies!" will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular post, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

        (X) Your post was simply unfunny.
        (X) Mailing lists and other legitimate websites would not bother stealing it from you
        (X) Monkeys simply can't aim that well.
        ( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
        (X) Slashdot will attempt to use this as an unfunny meme
        (X) Users of email will not put up with it
        (X) Linus Torvalds did not even chuckle
        (X) The police will tour again
        (X) Requires the attention span of a gnat
        (X) Requires immediate total cooperation of God in Heaven
        (X) The meme is tired and worn out and I'm just as likely to get a -1 troll as a +5 funny.

        Specifically, your plan fails to account for

          (X) Asshats
          (X) Asshats
          (X) Asshats
          (X) Asshats
          (X) Asshats
          (X) Technically illiterate politicians
          (X) Extreme stupidity on the part of people in general
          (X) Outlook
          (X) Asshats

        and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

          (X) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown funny
          (X) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
          ( ) Incompatibility with open source or open source licenses
          (X) unfunny jokes do nothing to solve the problem
          (X) Temporary/one-line jokes are cumbersome
          ( ) I don't want the government thinking your lame
          (X) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

        Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

          (X) Sorry dude, but that is simply unfunny.
          (X) Once you go OMGPonies! you can never go back.
          (X) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
          (X) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!
          (X) What you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone on this site is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

      • I want a pink one. With a scarf. And candies!
    • Please, sir, may I have another (achievement)?

    • by Etrias ( 1121031 )
      Okay great! I'm here. What did I unlock by the achievement? Do I get a new Submit button that flashes up Hot Grits and Natalie Portman?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by eXonyte ( 842640 )
      Well I'm going to pride myself in being one of those who does NOT have the achievement!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by nico60513 ( 735846 )
      No thanks. Even if I get all of the achievements they'll just add more achievements to get me to buy new slashdot downloadable content.
    • by thesp ( 307649 )
      Achievement please :-) Thank you kindly, sir...
    • But where does it end? :/

    • Bah. Hopefully the devs will write something shutting this down, and force useful comments.

      -1 Fuckwit achievement whore

    • Actually, I don't see anyone with the "The Fool" achievement. I'm thinking they might plan on retroactively giving it out when the story is archived...

  • There is no good reason for tons and tons of information in news articles. This boils everything down to the essentials and puts it into a format that everyone can understand. Good for you The Guardian! /joke
  • Hahaha (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Calabacin ( 1358875 )
    This post seems legit ;-)
    • It's actually pretty plausible. Here in Seattle one of our largest and oldest newspapers, the Seattle Post Intelligencer, just ended its print operation and is scaling back to be an exclusively digital operation.

      But then it got into the twitter bit and I realized it was an april fools joke.

  • Sweet (Score:5, Funny)

    by Em Emalb ( 452530 ) < minus poet> on Wednesday April 01, 2009 @10:56AM (#27417379) Homepage Journal

    Since I have the attention span of woah, Britney Spears just ate an entire bowl of rusty nails on live TV.

    What was I saying? Oh, right. As I was saying, if cars continue to run on haha, nice bewbs! then we'll definitely need to see improvement in the White House.

  • It's about time these lazy journalists got with the times.
    • Of course, moving to a form of media which encourages short posts is a really good way to get rid of lazy journalists...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 01, 2009 @10:57AM (#27417399)
    Twitter: Micro Blogging Service
    Tweet: To send a message on twitter.
    Twat: Any journalist that reports on/about twitter.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I thought to twitter was to talk incessantly about inane crap.
      Oh wait!
    • by slyn ( 1111419 ) <> on Wednesday April 01, 2009 @11:44AM (#27418537)

      The maker of Twitter must be laughing hysterically now as he swims in vast seas of money and shits 17 carat gold logs, thinking back to that fateful day where he first came upon the idea for his website...

      Twitter Guy: EUREKA!1
      Some Guy: What?
      TG: I just got a great idea for a website, users upload what they are doing or thinking at any given moment in time for the whole world to see!
      SG: Isn't that just what a facebook status is?
      TG: Hmmmm, we can limit the number of characters people use to only 140, concise and it will keep the server load down so we always have a good uptime!
      SG: Why 140?
      TG: Because its (12 x 12) - 4
      SG: Oooooookay? How do you plan on making money?
      TG: Its just a great idea so venture capitalists will just throw money at our potential.
      SG: .... you sound like a twit.

    • Twitter: Micro Blogging Service Tweet: To send a message on twitter. Twat: Any journalist that reports on/about twitter.

      You missed one:
      Twit: Someone who uses Twitter

    • We need a site that caters to the ultra short messages of light.

      2009/4/1 12:00 pm: Dude ;-)
      2009/4/1 11:23 am: Dude
      2009/4/1 11:04 am: D-Ude

      See, now isn't that a whole lot of self indulgent crap we don't have to ignore?

  • R U Sure ? (Score:5, Funny)

    by elcorvax ( 1395311 ) <[corvax] [at] []> on Wednesday April 01, 2009 @10:58AM (#27417415)
    And are they going to post the news in the Lolcat language ??
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Just the commentary.
    • by jd ( 1658 )

      There are now English-to-Lolcat automatic translators. I am considering producing a Lolcat 'translation' for Ubuntu, but teh goggie keeps eeting it.

  • google news (Score:2, Funny)

    by themacks ( 1197889 )
    let's just hope this doesn't mean google will start aggregating tweets
  • and it solves GMG's dispute with Google News []

  • the good news is is real. the bad news is it goes to the wikipedia article on WWII--come on guys, how hard would it be to slip a rickroll in there?
  • Instead of publishing via "Tweets", publish on Teats!

    I would definitely subscribe. For the articles of course.

  • Poor April Fools Day (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Azaril ( 1046456 ) on Wednesday April 01, 2009 @11:02AM (#27417537) Homepage

    You'd think that after the story yesterday [], they would come up with something a little less obvious. The whole premise of the fools joke is to get people to believe it, at least temporarily. How can a paper, who only 24 hours before complained about the lack of funding on the internet, possibly goto an internet only distribution system? I might be getting old, but in my eyes, no april fools joke will ever match up to the seminal BBC prank []. Now to stop those damn kids skateboarding on the sidewalk...

  • Sigh ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by krou ( 1027572 ) on Wednesday April 01, 2009 @11:04AM (#27417569)
    ... whatever happened to believable April Fools stories? It was a lot more fun when you could really get fooled instead of just being able to discount a story within the first line. (Kids, get off my lawn, too!)
    • There's at least two stories on the FrontPage of Slashdot that I _still_ can't tell if they're real or not.
    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      /. should post both real and fake stories like that worm story. :)

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      Sometimes a joke is just situation comedy. The fact that the Guardian is an old paper. The fact that it is respected. The fact that it is so unbelievable. That is why it is funny.

      Now, if the paper had been the Sun, it would not have been so funny, for any number of reasons. If it had been the WSJ, it would have so believable that it would spread and caused all sort of chaos like affecting stock prices.

  • 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?"

    I have to give kudos to the Guardian... it's going to be hard to top this one.

    • This April Fool's is nothing compared to the Grauniad's 1977 April fool. [] In 1977, they published a 7 page supplement (7 full-size pages, not tabloid size) and the island of San Seriffe. It was hilarious and full of jokes, puns, etc. and must have taken significant effort to write and convince the management to publish it.
    • "A mammoth project is also under way to rewrite the whole of the newspaper's archive, stretching back to 1821"

      This would go a lot easier with an enhancement to Apache's mod-rewrite. Or maybe Google's new app, 'NewsReWriter'.

      So let's get on that, eh?

  • Give me waffles and maple syrup any day of the week (side of bacon, please), bluster just doesn't have that same yummy taste.

  • The guardian reporters have been out in force today twittering about the G20 riots - they probably outnumbered the protesters. The technology section twitters here: [] or it does when the fail whale isn't showing.
  • Instead of posting every single April Fool's prank separately

  • But this made me think back to the Times' "headlines" that Winston had to create in short Newspeak blurbs in 1984.

  • Now if you'll excuse me...

  • Just trying to get the stupid achievement if its real.

  • ...nothing of value was lost.
  • A teacher of mine once said the substance of a news story should be clear by the end of the first paragraph. The april fools' joke aside, this could be a useful way to get reporters back on track with story reporting.
  • I see a new mode of distribution for newspapers.

    Just break up all the articles in the 140 character tweets. Then all readers with a TweetTorrent client would be able to gather them together (and share them of course) and read the entire newspaper.

  • Guardian journalists simply are incapable of condensing their pompous bloviations down to 140 characters.

  • Nowhere near as good as this one -

    Travel agents were besieged after the article appeared.

  • It shouldn't make a difference for the most of us anyway, who claim we "only read the articles."

    ASCII art porn, indeed.

  • Tags break April Fools gags :o(

    • I would also add that the obvious subjects are ruining the April Fools gags, and unfortunately, even if Slashdot were to post a real-looking April Fools gag, nobody would buy it.

      I still enjoy searching around websites to see what April Fools gags are being posted; it used to be like looking for easter eggs.

  • Fox News (Score:3, Interesting)

    by brkello ( 642429 ) on Wednesday April 01, 2009 @12:16PM (#27419221)
    I think this would be a better format for Fox News. I mean really, 140 characters is more than enough for them. "Liberals!" "Socialism!" "Baby killers!" "Obama's recession!" "Tax and Spend!" "Destruction of marriage!" "Easy on terrorists!"

    Heck, I think that pretty much sums up all of Fox News right now. I guess they can just shut down and open up the air ways for some real journalism. How about a 24/7 Daily Show channel?
  • by Lifyre ( 960576 )

    I looked at the headline, thought well that sucks. Then I wondered where the years of dragging it out, crying for help, and withering away in painful destructive lawsuits against the internet, google, and yahoo for undermining their business model went.

  • 140 characters shouldn't be too much of a problem to get the nuances of an important news item across.

    If they need more they can always use tweetdoubler [].

Evolution is a million line computer program falling into place by accident.