The pre-Twitter tweets from The Economist
It has been said so many times, "it came before its time."
More than a quarter century ago, the staid old Economist invented Tweeting. Of course, only a handful of people noticed (and I'm sure The Economist has forgotten all about it).
By the way, I have just joined Twitter and you can follow me (if you care) at rowlandr.
Back in 1981, I was working in London, at the Universal News Services PR wire and using Britain's fledgling Prestel videotex service. The Economist was also one of Prestel's clients.
In this early form of new media, you had a keyboard attached to a TV screen, which was wired through the phone system to a mainframe computer somewhere in an early version of cyberspace.
It was also expensive. You were not only paying for the phone line (at per minute rates) but in most cases (unless Prestel waived the charges) a per page fee as well. (So it never really got anywhere, a warning to those revisionist columnists who think the media should have started charging for access in the early days of the web).
The best way to get the news across was in short briefs. Not everyone did that, but The Economist did. If you wanted to print out a page, it came out on silvered, heat sensitive paper, with the type appearing only slightly darker silver. Hard to read, old chap.
And why do I remember all this? One story in the summer of 1981, reminded me of my home in "the colonies." It went something like this
There's good news and bad news from Canada. The good news is that the television network is on strike. The bad news is that the post office is on strike. (I make that 130 characters)
Ha ha ha. Yes there was a strike at the CBC at that time, And yes Canada Post was going through his infamous period of labour unrest.
The other stories were just like that. They were "tweets."
If they only knew what they started.........
Of course, The Economist is back at it. Twitter name The Economist and as of this moment there are 10,195 followers.
writing, journalism, Twitter, Economist, videotex, Prestel,
Labels: CBC, Economist, London, Prestel, tweet, Twitter, videotex, writing
The David Lean Anniversary Conference
This year, 2008, as we've all heard from the superheated publicity, is the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of author Ian Fleming.
The fact that 2008 is also the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of one ot the greatest film directors David Lean, has had less hype.
There have been events in London all year marking the anniversary and one is a conference at Queen Mary University on July 25 and 26, 2008, that "offers an opportunity both to celebrate David Lean's career and to evaluate the nature of his achievement."
You can find out more about the David Lean conference on both the conference website or, if you're on Facebook, by joining the Facebook group David Lean 100th Anniversary Conference QMUL.
Facebook Event page for the conference.
I'll be speaking about "that movie" that it is what many former prisoners called The Bridge on the River Kwai on the afternoon of July 26, officially on "The Reception of The Bridge on the River Kwai among Former Far East Prisoners of War." It was a love hate relationship with that great film for many former POWs.
And I'll tell the conference why.
Hope to see you there.
writing, London, Burma Thailand Railway, World War II, film,F Force, Prisoner of War,
David Lean, Bridge on the River Kwai, Kwai, book
Labels: A River Kwai Story, Bridge on the River Kwai, Burma Thailand Railway, David Lean, film, London, World War II, writing