The first blogger: Benjamin Harris

Five years ago, at the purported 10th “anniversary” of blogging, Scott Rosenberg went in search for the first blogger. His conclusion: “Blogging as we know it today slowly accreted from multiple input streams. It’s a set of practices built around a set of tools, and the practices and tools co-evolved. There are a handful of central figures in the story. They’re all important.”

I have found the first blogger, though. He is Benjamin Harris, publisher of Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick, a newspaper that published one edition in Boston in 1690. The paper was four pages — three were filled with news and ass-kicking opinion, opinion that so angered the British that they shut him down.

But in his brilliance, Harris left the fourth page blank with the idea that people could write their own news and opinions on that page and pass the paper to others.

OK, it’s not on the web so that technically means it is, by definition, not a web log. But the spirit is the same.

Update: Within seconds of tweeting this discovery, I was informed this was not my discovery, at all. It was noticed by many before me so I’m back to my experiments with cold fusion.

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