DR MUMBO: Gleater, the social media web site that doesn’t exist

The has published an intriguing article today about a non-existent social media website in which users communicate via charcoal drawings and messages of five letters or less.

gleater-smhThe opinion piece, bylined to Aaron Timms, introduces a guest columnist called “Randy Moustakis”, who claims to be behind a site called Gleater which launched five years ago. In the piece, headlined “Put a sock in Twitter, Gleater is the go”, Moustakis boasts:

“Today, we stand unrivalled as the leading five-letters-or-less social networking site on the whole goddamn internet.”

 It continues: “But we’re not standing still. Recently we unveiled a set of funky new applications to monetise our position as the planet’s pre-eminent home to monosyllabic online interaction: our new “Abhor” function allows gleatees to express their disgust for particular gleats, and we’ve just completed an exclusive advertising deal with a Chatswood-based surgical shoe retailer.”

The article is a satirical take on Twitter, where users are limited to messages of 240 characters or less. Gleater and Randy Moustakis do not exist. It also pokes fun at the claims of citizen journalism coming of age during the Mumbai bombings. The piece goes on: “During the recent Mumbai terrorist attacks, gleaters had etchings of the unfolding disaster out on the internet before any of the major figures in the international charcoal drawing community had even caught wind of what was happening. Incredible.”

The piece – labelled as an opinion article via the home page of and sister online masthead Brisbane Times – has generated speculation on Twitter that the Fairfax titles had been hoaxed.

But readers of the print edition of the SMH received an additional, but vital, piece of information. It appeared in “The Big Bluff” column.

An amused Bruce Wolpe, Fairfax’s corporate affairs director, told Mumbrella: “As usual, the Twittersphere can on certain days have the collective USB memory capacity of a gnat. The rain today must have clouded total recall and other Schwarzenegger movie titles, among other things.”


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