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John Quincy Adams, president, statesman — and Twitterer?
They may be two centuries old, but, written with staccato-like brevity, entries from one of Adams’s diaries resemble tweets sufficiently that they began appearing Wednesday on Twitter.
Twitter tag JQAdams_MHS, is posting the entries, from a diary Adams started writing the day he left Boston for St. Petersburg to serve as minister, or ambassador, to Russia. That day was Aug. 5, 1809, and the society chose Wednesday, precisely 200 years later, to post the daily entry from it. Thursday’s posting will be from Aug. 6, 1809, Friday’s from Aug. 7, and so on, at least until year’s end.
Jeremy B. Dibbell, an assistant reference librarian at the society, said a graduate student at Simmons College here saw the diary a few months ago in the society’s archives and thought it looked like a Twitter feed, though written in Adams’s meticulous script and bound in leather. Word spread, and the society decided to tweet the entries. They average 110 to 120 characters, below the 140-character limit imposed by Twitter, and there is nary an LOL or BFF among them.
Like most Twitter feeds, Adams’s will chronicle the substantial, including his arrival in St. Petersburg, and the mundane: the diary makes many references to weather, seasickness and card-playing, for example, on the voyage across the Atlantic.