The first newspaper in America, Benjamin Harris’s Publick Occurrences, Both Foreign and Domestick, was published in 1690. It contained gossip about the immoral King of France, an account of recent events of the French and Indian War partnered with a denunciation of the treatment of French captives by the Indian allies of the English, and an op-ed column written by Mr Harris in which he wrote descriptively and at great length on the lives of his cats; Scrofula, Plumb-Bob and Poor Benighted Erasmus.*
It lasted one issue. The first successful American newspaper, which didn’t come out until 14 years later, was the Boston News-Letter, published weekly. At the height of its popularity, it had about 300 readers.
Feel better about your traffic yet?
Depending on who you ask, blogging has been around for 5 or perhaps 10 years. There’s no way to know what’s going to happen with the form. The chance that one of us can predict what’s ahead in just the next five years is about as likely as Benjamin Harris foreseeing both the National Enquirer and USA Today the day he printed Publick Occurrences.
I’ll give him the Enquirer. All that would take is the assumption that humanity will always be interested in the shady doings of the famous, which, now that I think about it, would be perfect thing to blog about if you really wanted to be popular. Gossip Blog! Gossip about Bloggers for Bloggers! All Day, Every Day!
Tempting, but…no. I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel. I’ll pepper my posts with references more and less arcane, because in the end that’s a lot more fun that striving endlessly after the numbers. In any case, that arcana paints a more accurate portrait of me. A portrait that, thanks to the Net, will likely last a long, long time.
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to me.
Barring the collapse of civilization, words written on the Net last essentially forever. If blogs reduce the price of publishing down to almost nothing, they do the same for Shakespeare’s metaphorical immortality. What we write now is just as likely to be read in the future as it is now. More likely, if blogging continues to grow in popularity. After all, we’re the pioneers. Years from now, someone one will look at my words, see me in them and think;
“Man, that guy was a dumbass.”
This week’s immortals;
*No, not really