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'Twitter Stories' tells dramatic tales behind the tweets

Doug Gross, CNN
Twitter Stories chronicles the tales behind the 140-character messages. We're not sure what the rotary phone is for, though.
Twitter Stories chronicles the tales behind the 140-character messages. We're not sure what the rotary phone is for, though.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Twitter launches "Twitter Stories" to tell the tales behind the tweets
  • Launched Tuesday, the first batch includes stories from super-user Roger Ebert
  • Also profiled: Man who found a kidney on Twitter; fishermen who use it to sell their catch

(CNN) -- Lives have been saved, small businesses have avoided shutting their doors and average folks have met their political leaders, sports heroes and other celebrities. All because of Twitter.

That's the story the micro-blogging service wants to tell with Twitter Stories, a new site meant to showcase what Twitter calls the power of a single tweet. Because while good stories can begin with a tweet, most can't be told in 140 characters.

Twitter critics, many of them non-users, have always been quick to dismiss the site as a repository for vapid, short-attention-span oversharing. And there's been no shortage of that -- not to mention some of the most atrocious spelling on the Web -- among the site's more than 200 million users.

But Twitter has also been credited for playing a major role in everything from fomenting political revolutions to spreading breaking news to sparking thoughtful debates.

Launched Tuesday, the initial batch of Twitter Stories include a tale of a man whose off-color tweet -- "Sh-t, I need a kidney" -- led to a donor coming forward just days later.

Others include a profile of film critic Roger Ebert, who found an outlet on Twitter after cancer stole his ability to speak, and of Japanese fishermen who use the site to sell their catch each day before they've even reached shore.

"Each story reminds us of the humanity behind Tweets that make the world smaller," read a post on the official Twitter blog announcing the site.

The new site is asking users to suggest their own Twitter tales. An @TwitterStories account has been created to collect people's stories, and users are encouraged to use the hashtag #twitterstories to make sure staff members see them.

A collection of new stories will be shared each month, Twitter says.

By Wednesday afternoon, the account already had more than 160,000 followers and users were offering their personal Twitter stories, from accounts of finding jobs to the heartening tale of a stray dog that likely would have died were it not for an outpouring of support after a single tweet.

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