Charles Darwin gets web 2.0 and joins Twitter!

Charles Darwin goes on Twitter - is he more Web 2.0 than you?

Charles Darwin goes on Twitter - is he more Web 2.0 than you?

Just when you think the world of information science and the web has gone to sleep, bored to tears with endless discussions about when the semantic web will pop up, along comes something fabulous.

Hard on the heels of last week’s fascinating #uksnow Twittering and the lovely animation of tweets across Britain as the snow rolled us over, this week we’re being over-run by Darwin200 tweets using a #darwin tag.

Naturally the great man himself is Tweeting from beyond the grave – if you’d like to follow him he’s @cdarwin, not surprisingly. I wonder if he’s got a netbook with dongle, an N96 or an iPhone? I don’t suppose there are many powersockets on The Beagle. Have a look at his homepage on Twitter:

Please can someone now do a #darwin mashup map so we can find out where everything is? Over the next weeks and months a string of events are being held all over Britain.  Check out .  Disappointingly, while a few months ago there was a rudimentary RSS feed of D200 events, it doesn’t seem to be around any more. The D200 site seems really flat and web 1.0.

Thinking about Twitter tags, these user-tagged info clouds could be great low-tech, high-flexibility models for socially-driven information creation. I think it’s fascinating that within just a few weeks, people are making up their own tag taxonomies, placing them in a networked environment, and letting nature take it’s course. Kind of like Darwin, really.

What’s next? A simple, standardised list of artist names, eras, types? It’s not that complex, because what seems to be happening is that users quickly twig which is the most powerful or sticky #tag to use and then the memetic effect that seems to energise Twitter takes over, and the #tag goes everywhere.

Meanwhile, check out the latest #darwin tweets in my RSS feed box up there on the right of the Machine Culture homepage.

JP/Feb 10

Twitter: @jon_pratty


About Jon Pratty

Human - for now
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8 Responses to Charles Darwin gets web 2.0 and joins Twitter!

  1. Mike L says:

    There are 3 Darwins on Twitter now, the Beagle one you quote, another from the NHM and yet another from Downe house. Very busy for a dead guy. Finding them’ s half the fun so no linkies here.

    • Jon Pratty says:

      Great point Mike! We must try to track down these multiple Darwin personalities; it means he’s evolving into a many-headed digital beast…

      On a slightly more boring note, it also points up that no-one ‘owns’ Darwin, in an authorised sense. While there are institutions that, in a sense, pretty much own the brand, in a socially networked, museum-as-platform world (see the work of Shelley Bernstein) participants can also animate the legend of Darwin.

      Though I bet this is a case of various venues just not telling each other they were going to Twitter as the bearded genius himself.

  2. ‘it also points up that no-one ‘owns’ Darwin, in an authorised sense’

    How very true. And what fun.

    • Jon Pratty says:

      Thanks for that important point, Mr Darwin.

      Without wishing to sound critical of D200 efforts, it also shows how vital it is with new heritage media projects to have a moment of ‘de-confliction,’ checking who is going to do what and looking around to make sure no-one else is doing it too.

      Best regards to you and your crew for the rest of the voyage…

  3. Eef Grob says:

    Dutch public broadcaster VPRO will be resailing the Beagle Voyage (starting sep 1st), with – amongst others – Darwin’s great-great-granddaughter Sarah Darwin. For these tv-series we are trying to contact @cdarwin on Twitter. Can any one tell me who is behind these wonderful Beagle-tweets?
    More on our project:

  4. Call heard. Can I help someone? Mail is charlesdarwin at thebeaglevoyage dot com

  5. Eef says:

    Thank you all for replying, I already managed to get in contact with “Charles” and will me e-mailing him soon.

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