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How newspapers ought to think of Twitter

Sunday, June 07, 2009 by Dave Winer.

Just realized something in a new way. Permalink to this paragraph

I've been posting links to new blog posts on Twitter since I started using it two years ago. It's just a natural thing, another step in the publishing process. You can see very clearly where it fits in by looking at the button-bar in my editing window.  Permalink to this paragraph

Here's the process. Permalink to this paragraph

Step 1. Write the initial draft. Organize. Edit. Permalink to this paragraph

Step 2. Save. This publishes the piece to scripting.com, both on the home page, and on its own story page. I repeat this step until I'm ready to have the story appear in the RSS feed. (I don't mind if readers see the interim versions, I imagine it's somewhat interesting, if not it doesn't seem to do much harm.) Permalink to this paragraph

Step 3. Build RSS. I know that many RSS clients will only read an item once, so I wait to rebuild the RSS that includes the new piece until it's pretty much finished. I might still add some pictures, or links or tweak up some wording, but by the time it goes out in the feed, it's not likely to change much. Permalink to this paragraph

Step 4. Twit-It posts the link to Twitter. I get to edit the link text before it goes out, but it does the work of creating a short URL and smashing it together with the headline before presenting it to me in a dialog. Permalink to this paragraph

This last step is relatively new, but its import is starting to settle in. In a real way a story isn't published until I've pushed it through Twitter. I expect over time, as more systems hook into Twitter, it will come to mean more. Of course I will, as long as Twitter has a 140-character limit, publish everything on the web and in RSS. This article so far has 2291 characters, or 16 tweets. Permalink to this paragraph

A picture named sanMarzano.jpgAnother way of saying the same thing is that Twitter has become the newspaper of record. In a few years what's left of the news industry will call Twitter a parasite and demand royalties. Too bad they don't see this coming, and create an even better news system built around the principles of Twitter and instead of asking for alms they'd get a piece of the PEPermalink to this paragraph

Sidebar to the Twitter bizdev people: Wish I had upside in Twitter, so I could be motivated to make these things work in your company's product. But I'm a greedy capitalist just like you, and with my "stock" in Twitter diminishing in value every day (through dilution), I have to look elsewhere for my upside. You might think of this as a challenge or a puzzle, figure out how to incentivize your users to make you even richer.  Permalink to this paragraph

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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 54, 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 Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

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.


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