Friday, February 22, 2013

Social Media and Blogging in the Old West

Dateline: Late19th Century

A quick trip to the past proves that at the core, blogging and social media are nothing new.

It isn't as portable as a laptop, but a good sized wagon can carry a small press and allow an itinerant printer to set up shop. For a modest price businesses can print handbills. Lawmen can spread wanted posters. And activists can print pamphlets expounding their opinion without being shut down by a newspaper publisher with advertisers to please. 

Tweeters have nothing on telegraphers who have to pay by the character.

Salesmen carry news and gossip as well as sample bags across the country. Of course, you can't rely on the veracity of the information received, but that's nothing new. As Mark Twain said: "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."

Live chat is popular, especially at the general store. Just pull up a chair by the pickle barrel. If you're a good customer, you might even get a cup of coffee.


Jacquie Rogers said...

There's just something about a cup of Arbuckle's at a pickle barrel table that beats Facebook. :)

We've been talking about frontier newspaper editors over at Western Fictioneers. Wild times.

Meg said...

LOL! so true. Loved all the chit-chat during family dinners of the past, and after-dinner clean up. See what we miss? Great post, Alison.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Fun post, Alison.

Alison E. Bruce said...

Thanks everyone. It was fun to write.

mesadallas said...

People were starved for news and travelers who could catch someone up on the latest news was usually welcomed into a homestead. I've also read that in the south slaves would be stationed beside the driveways leading to plantations so that they could invite travelers to stop and rest at the plantation while they shared any news they might have.

My husband was a salesman for many years and I can attest to the fact that there aren't any worse gossips around than salesman.

An Open Book said...

I loved this post! And the picture at the end just topped it off for me. Made me laugh- great job Alison!