Blogging started in 1643. WTH?

by Laurent François

Jeff Jarvis mentions on his blog a “lovely review of the Folger Shakespeare Library show on the birth of newspapers by Philip Kennicott in the Washington Post has some gems” :

“When John Taylor, a bargeman and alehouse keeper turned journalist, published an edition of his Mercurius Aquaticus in 1643, he included a complete reprint of a rival paper, the Mercurius Britanicus — followed by a point-by-point smackdown of its contents. This was “fisking,” 17th-century-style: a form of argument beloved by bloggers who cut-and-paste something that offends them and then interlard it with commentary.

The extra margin space included in a 1699 issue of Dawks’s Newsletter was meant to allow readers to write notes and commentary before passing the paper on to someone else. Web site designers may think that posting reader comments, which all too often devolve from sincerity to silliness to bigotry and ad hominem attacks, is a brave new invention of the interactive world. But interactivity is ancient. It’s at least as old as graffiti, and often just as useful.”

This demonstration proves one key-thing: that blogging is just an answer to the latent demand to share opinions, discuss different views in order for citizens to get a “better” truth that the one expressed by institutional channels. And that of course blogging since its birth is absolutely not against journalism. When it comes to look under the ice, every connection matters!

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