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Friday, June 10, 2011

The genius of Lord Bonkers

If like me you are big fans of Jonathan Calder's Lord Bonkers then this latest diary piece on the early history of Twitter is an absolute gem and I recommend you read it:

For some inexplicable reason, the belief that Twitter is a recent invention is now widely entertained. Nothing could be further from the truth. Though of late it has made use of the latest technology, the service was in widespread use as early as the 1920s.

Several times a day, the Twitter boy would bicycle up the drive here at the hall in his buttoned suit and peaked cap, bringing a short message from one of my friends: “OMG Winston Churchill has rejoined the Tories”, “WTF is the Commonwealth Party??? LOL”, that sort of thing. Then there was the role of the notorious “Zinoviev Tweet” in Labour’s defeat in the 1924 general election. Truly, there is nothing new under the sun.

There is, however, one important difference between Twitter now and then. Back in the twenties, someone like your diarist, who had many followers and a great deal to say for himself, kept simply dozens of Twitter Boys in useful employment, crisscrossing the country on their bicycles. Today those self-same messages go by electric interweb while the youths sit in bus shelters drinking white cider.

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