April Fools!: But the Twitter-powered newspaper is more than a joke

If you logged on to our home page today, April 1, you saw what it would be like if a newspaper went all-Twitter, all the time. For some, it was an idea that was hard to take seriously. For others, it was a serious scare, if only for a while. For still others, it was a welcome development.

Here at Xpress, we want to thank all of you who read, called and e-mailed about, and who contributed to the experiment. And we hope we’ve started a new dialogue about how best to use information-sharing tools like Twitter — about collaboration, empowering citizen journalists and the possibilities for the future.

To be real clear: The Xpress Twitter-powered newspaper was an April Fool’s Day stunt — but one with a purpose. We hope we didn’t confuse or offend anyone too greatly. Publisher Jeff Fobes’ manifesto and memo were artifice, as was the in-house drama here at Xpress. But if you got past the hyperbole, you saw some core truths lurking within the manifesto.

At the same time, we also hope that we’ve opened some eyes to the possibilities of working together. Xpress wants to cultivate passionate engagement. We think it’s important to track conversation around specific ideas and topics. Can Twitter help us do this? Are there better ways?

“This wasn’t just a joke — it was an experiment to see what would happen if we put all of our energy into making a Twitter paper, if only for a day,” Fobes said tonight.  “And I feel sure we will come away with things we learned and take our publication to a new level. We don’t just want to go back to where we were.”

These are just some of the notions we’re thinking about as we move forward. We welcome your thoughts — please share them in the comments below, and elsewhere on our site.

— Jon Elliston, managing editor

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About Jon Elliston
An Asheville-based mountain journalist: Former Mountain Xpress managing editor. Investigations and open government editor at Carolina Public Press. Senior contributing editor at WNC magazine.

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12 thoughts on “April Fools!: But the Twitter-powered newspaper is more than a joke

  1. Twitter has great potential as an information gathering and dissemination tool.

    I am confident that this paper will be the only one in the region to properly utilize it, and the readers, in a way that goes beyond gimmick.

  2. September Girl

    ShootIhadjustfiguredouthowtorecapturesomeofthe140charactersbyeliminatingthespaces

  3. Amanda

    I heard about the Guardian in the UK doing this before the Xpress…

  4. Amanda

    You guys are so full of yourselves! The Guardian has already done this!

  5. jgr

    You Really Fooled me! I thought he would have to move HOME! NCR’s MOM

  6. Piffy!

    Amanda, it happened at the same time, unless you count the 4 or so extra hours across the pond. Full of your self much?

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