Dave Winer, 56, is a visiting scholar at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and editor of the Scripting News weblog. He pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in New York City.
"The protoblogger." - NY Times.
"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.
"Dave was in a hurry. He had big ideas." -- Harvard.
"Dave Winer is one of the most important figures in the evolution of online media." -- Nieman Journalism Lab.
10 inventors of Internet technologies you may not have heard of. -- Royal Pingdom.
One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.
"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.
"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.
"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.
8/2/11: Who I Am.
My 40 most-recent links, ranked by number of clicks.
FYI: You're soaking in it. :-)
I finally did a little project I've had on my to-do list for a long time.
The question is this. If Twitter is a news-delivery service, and I believe it is, what are the real dimensions of a nugget of news?
We've been living with the limit imposed by Ev and Biz and Jack for a few years, but what's the magic of 140? It's pretty much a random number pulled out of the air (I know some people will say it's magic, they do that every time we question this limit. Could you just let this proxy stand in for your appeal? Probably not.)
My project: I asked the editors of the NY Times what they think the average length of a nugget of news is. I didn't sit them down and interview them. Rather I turned to their RSS feeds. I figured the actual data would do a better job of speaking for the collective. What is the consensus among NY Times editors?
I didn't include the link to the full story because I figured that any Times-based news delivery system would hide the URL as metadata, unlike Twitter (I believe this is a design mistake). I only included the title and the description. I looked at 8279 stories that had been gathered by my aggregator since September 2009 and now. I really had no idea what the number would be. If you had forced me to guess, I would have said the number would be somewhere between 250 and 500.
The actual number, the average length of a Times "nugget-of-news" is this: 185.
I should probably throw out some of the outliers, for example there's one item from the TechTalk podcast that's a whopping 949 characters.
Even so, the answer is fairly clear. 140 is not enough, not even for the average nugget. And to be able to hold the largest one, the max would have to be 250 or 300. And there would be no room for the link, even shortened, in that size nugget.
Update: Here are the posts that were studied in this post.