Tweets from the beyond: John Quincy Adams Twittering

200 years later, sixth president's diary excerpts posted as tweets

First the White House got a Twitter account and then, earlier this year, an astronaut became the first person to Twitter from space.

Now, someone's actually Twittering...from the grave?

Well, kind of.

Starting today, the Massachusetts Historical Society will be offering up excerpts from John Quincy Adams' line-a-day diary as tweets. The diary entries track Adams' voyage to Russia, which kicked off on Aug. 5, 1809. Two hundred years after Adams' journey began, accounts of his trip and his ensuing work as the first American ambassador to Russia will be chronicled daily on Twitter.

"We'll be posting [Adams'] exact words (his entries really do work perfectly as 140-character tweets), and, where possible, we will augment the posts with maps showing his location (thank him for providing regular latitude and longitude readings), links to longer diary entries, and other information," Jeremy Dibbell, a librarian with the Massachusetts Historical Society, wrote in a blog post. "His short entries are surprisingly rich, full of wonderful details about his reading, meals, weather, and shipboard activities."

Adams, the nation's sixth president, was the son of the second president, John Adams. Serving as a U.S. senator, the second presidential Adams also was a successful secretary of state, working out a deal to acquire Florida from Spain and helping to create the Monroe Doctrine.

And it seems that Adams was ahead of his time, writing his journal entries in nearly perfect 140-character quips - perfect for the microblogging site Twitter.

"This is an exciting opportunity for us to test out some new technological tools and to create a transcription of the line-a-day diaries, which will be useful for future projects, as well," said Dibbell. "We certainly hope others will find [Adams'] journey as fascinating as we do, so please follow him on Twitter."

Last month, a first-time novelist struggling to find a publisher for his book began releasing it 140 characters at a time on Twitter. Author Matt Stewart is in the process of publishing his novel, The French Revolution on Twitter. It appears to be the first full-length novel to be released one tweet at a time.

Earlier this year, NASA astronaut Mike Massimino was the first person to Twitter from space. Massimino sent out tweets during his voyage in May on the space shuttle Atlantis.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

It’s time to break the ChatGPT habit
Shop Tech Products at Amazon