James Smith

I’ve just been reading an article about the diarist Robert Shields, who sadly passed away last year, describing his amazing “condition”.

Robert was thought to have hypergraphia, an overwhelming urge to write, and detailed every action of his life meticulously in a collection of diaries. The entries chronicled every 5 minutes of his life.

Every mundane, boring detail, such as the following gem:

July 25, 1993

7am: I cleaned out the tub and scraped my feet with my fingernails to remove layers of dead skin.

705 am: Passed a large, firm stool, and a pint of urine. Used five sheets of paper.

It struck me how similar this was to the actions of heavy twitter users (I will refrain from mentioning specific names!), tweeting every insignificant detail of their lives.

Old twitter

Twitter’s growth problems aren’t a new phenomenon either, Robert too suffered from service scaling issues as his diaries piled up to fill 94 cartons.

These diaries are now in the safe hands of Washington State University, but won’t be released to read for another 49 years. I can barely contain myself.

Robert Shields was a true pioneer. I salute you!

About the Author

James Smith, British entrepreneur and developer based in San Francisco.

I'm the co-founder of Bugsnag with Simon Maynard, and from 2009 to 2012 I led up the product team as CTO of Heyzap.