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Twitter-by-post breeds analog 'Fail Whales'

A freelance writer took his tweets offline and made the mail fun again.

The rare, endangered analog fail whale. Twitter: @gilest

On the way to our digital world, a strange thing happened--analog became cool again. How else can you explain something like Twitter-by-post?

The idea is simple, the execution not so much. Freelance writer Giles Turnbull decided to take his tweets offline by responding to his Twitter feed using physical postcards. He laid out the mechanics of the experiment--done with the help of about 15 "volunteers" from among his Twitter followers--in The Morning News:

It worked like this: everyone involved sent me their postal address, while I headed down to the local Post Office and bought a job lot of stamps. Most of my helpers were here in the UK, but some were in the U.S., one in Australia, and one in New Zealand...

The mechanics of it took a while to work out. Most difficult was replicating my personal Twitter timeline--how could I post the same thing to everyone? Well, by writing it out lots of times.

For those "public" tweets, I wrote the same thing out 15 times, on 15 cards, and sent them to 15 different people. This took every moment as long as you might think; possibly a little longer.

Other tweets were easier to do. The analogue of sending an @reply or a DM is simply sending one card to one person.

Turnbull said the whole experience made mail fun again, if for only a brief time, and it generated at least one hand-drawn "fail whale." Scroll on for more excerpts from Turnbull's feed:

An analog Twitpic. The Morning News/Giles Turnbull
Practical advice shared in a less practical manner. The Morning News/Giles Turnbull
Analog and meta, how much more hip can you get? The Morning News/Giles Turnbull