Having been bitten by the Twitter bug, I found this article interesting. I mean, in this day of streaming HD video over wireless networks, why are text messages limited to 160 characters? The answer is so practical (that it is borderline boring) and it dates from the 1980’s.
SMS-father Friedman Hillebrand pounded out random statements, questions and thoughts on a typewriter. He kept an average character count. His team also found that the average message on the back of a postcard was under 160 characters.
Whereas Twitter used the exact same rationale as Hillebrand except they kept the first 20 characters allotted for the sender’s name.
To be honest I was hoping for something more tech inspired and exotic than the reasons given. But I can’t tell you how pleased I was that a typewriter was used in determining the optimal length of “useful” message.
I consider myself a Twitter newbie, but I know I will be racking up the tweets in the weeks ahead, as LibraryThing has just added Twitter integration. That is, you can now add books to you LibraryThing account via Twitter. The set-up process is very straight forward as are the tweet set-ups.
I’m ready to go, but I don’t have any books to enter. All mine are already cataloged… something that needs to be remedied this weekend!
I discovered Twitter some time ago and have been hooked ever since. So I am maintaining a list of all the “bookish types” who, I follow, on Twitter. The list isn’t very organized, yet. But it’s brimming with publishers,book designers, book media folks, publicists, bookshops and peppered with an author here and there. If you know of anybody else, in the publishing/book world, that I should be following, please let me know. Also, please let me know of any other online rosters of this type. I haven’t found one, which is the impetus in developing my own.
I’ve had some great conversations online because of it and am looking for more. Some of the tweeters do a great job of using the medium. Others, like myself, are still a bit newbie and it shows. But we’re learning and following!
I just started following Yale Univeristy Press on Twitter. Are there other cool publishers that I’m missing? Please pass along if you know of any.
It’s interesting to follow publishers as they move into new areas. It seems most are hesitant to explore things like Facebook, Twitter, Plurk, etc. So I’m glad to see some trying it out and doing a good job at it. And by good job, I mean sending stuff out other than “get 20% off book x this week”.
Press releases are ok, but if I’m following a publishers feed or engaging them via social media it’s because I’m interested in them on a topical level. So far Yale University Press‘ feed is doing that.