Blogging in 1872?

by Guest Contributor on December 14, 2011 · 3 comments

There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding Social Media, and that it is a new technology.

What is Social Media?

Well, if you go back to basics and examine the words – it’s just being Social with a Media!

My own view is that it is in fact an old concept; all that has changed now is the method of delivery.

As I say on the cover of my book, “The means can easily complicate the ends.”


Taking this as an example of how things haven’t really suddenly changed, Wikipedia says a blog can be:

… commentary or news on a particular subject. The ability to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs.

BUT, we had that back in 1872!

In the UK we have ‘speakers corner’ a place where individuals can publicly share their thoughts in an interactive environment. It’s the same in many other countries.

The potential audience for your ‘blog’ was smaller, comprised of the people actually there in the audience as well as others who they shared your blog with but the principle was the same.

In the past there were large barriers to entry in the traditional media, whereas today an individual’s blog can have the same influence as a major news organisation.

Online vs. Online

One of the points I raise in my presentations is that there isn’t that much difference in the online and offline worlds. I have had the experience of joining BNI and starting in Social Media at the same time back in 2008, so I have seen the similarities in my journey with them both.

Yes, there are some differences to be aware of, but it’s important not to become hung up on the media you use – it’s being social that matters.

An even earlier blog?

If you take things back further, Nick Tadd made a great point on this online blog of 2009:

“I would argue that social media goes back to the time of cavemen.

Instead of twitter they had red ochre, a finger and a cave wall, which they shared information – maybe about how to bring down mammoths?”



About James McBrearty

James McBrearty is the founder of, a company specialising in helping self employed people pay less tax and avoid fines.

He has grown the company from scratch and experienced himself the challenges that the typical self employed sole trader will inevitably encounter.

He is the author of the book ‘Chocks away: achieving freedom from the 9 to 5′ which charts the growth of and shares his knowledge on combining online and offline networking in growing a business.

James is also an Assistant Director for BNI, the worlds number one referral organisation. He regularly trains BNI members in offline and online networking skills, both in the UK and internationally.

James has been a qualified private pilot since August 2000 and currently owns a share in a classic Piper Cherokee aircraft which he flies in his spare time from White Waltham airfield in Berkshire.

His core process is ‘Achieving Freedom’ and his goal is to help people achieve their own freedom.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah Arrow December 14, 2011 at 21:17

Social commentary has been around forever, look at Plato, Aesop and in more modern times – Pepys. All chroniclers of the social activities of their times.


James McBrearty December 19, 2011 at 16:39

Thanks Sarah

Yes, it’s something people often miss by getting confused by the new tools instead of concentrating on the message.



Jon Baker December 26, 2011 at 11:07

Hi James,
Great blog, it’s so true and a shame that many people get tripped up on “technology” rather than realising the point you make here. Interactive social commenting is important, and has been used well by many people for a long long time


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