Of Twitter and cricket and business models

Here’s something you don’t see every day:

Some wonderfully evocative phrases:

  • allen bowling feeling bitter
  • woodfull declining warners sympathy
  • one side unplaying cricket ruining game
  • time decent men get out game

So where is all this from?  Here’s the story:

Due to restrictions on commercial radio in the United Kingdom in the 1930s, radio stations were established on the continent to beam programs directly to the United Kingdom. The main station was situated in Paris. One of its advertisers was the Gillette Safety Razor Co. which sponsored reporting of the controversial 1932-33 cricket series played between Australia and England in Australia. These were the days before live radio and television broadcasts of international sporting events. Each day a reporter cabled very brief descriptions of play to Paris where they were transformed into full scripts which were then broadcast to the United Kingdom.

The State Library of New South Wales has seen fit to make the cables available to the world at large, a great and laudable gesture. You can read all about it here, and get to the original cables as well. How wonderful.

Looking at the cables reminded me, at least in part, of Twitter, in terms of the brevity of message, the use of abbreviated words, the terseness of communication. And I couldn’t help but smile at the “business model”, which, bluntly put, was “Typescript, commissioned by Gillette Safety Razor Company”. How long before I receive sponsored news on Twitter, with just a few tweaks on the 1930s model? One way becomes two way, the subscription process is democratic, the subjects covered are infinite, and the writers are global microbrands in HughSpeak?

My thanks to Lloyd Davis for tweeting me about it, and to CityofSound for covering it in the first place, where Lloyd saw it.

5 thoughts on “Of Twitter and cricket and business models”

  1. JP – Great find. I wonder if the current economic situation will unearth more “effeciency based business models”


  2. Oliver, I think the connection between Twitter and ham radio is a lot closer than people think. Some of Dave Winer’s early mutterings, some of what Doc Searls has been writing about, much of it points to the ham radio enthusiast being a pioneer of what we see today in terms of two way communications and location/device agnosticism and democratised “publishing” and brevity

  3. That makes a great deal of sense. Of course, ham radio is by nature noncommercial and very decentralized. Good thing about communicating on Twitter: it’s the web, no license required!

  4. This is amazing. From the infamous Bodyline tour. Larwood was the pace bowler bowling at the batsmen. Bob Woodfull had just been hit and Pelham Warner, the England manager was offering his apologies. Diplomatic relations between the UK and Australia were nearly severed following the tactics used…sorry, bit of a cricket geek here!

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