Twitter 1891

Social media? It was around long before Twitter and Facebook. Granted it moved at a slower pace; columns like this in an 1891 issue of the Altamont Enterprise contained posts that are not so much different from what we see today:


A dozen or so local towns are covered in the “Vicinity Correspondence” section, and besides word of mouth, in its day this is how small bits of news were passed about. When you think about it, “This place is now without a shoemaker,” wouldn’t be a bad tweet.

Just like today, there were certainly people who thought all this information was useless. They’d probably shake their heads and say, “Christ! I don’t care whose farm Norman Miller is going to work on any more than I care what he ate for breakfast!” That may be, but I bet most people turned to page two and read that first. It’s interesting even 125 years later.

2 thoughts on “Twitter 1891

  1. I think Altamont Enterprise still runs these types of articles for the different neighborhoods. I remember seeing some last year, written by local residents, and contain a lot of news about who played bridge at what house and who is in Florida for the winter.

    1. I hope these local weekly papers can stay in business. I recently read a copy of the Ravena News-Herald and it was chock full of of ultra-local content, like a list of the school lunches and a column with news from the Coeymans Hollow Fire Department.

      Several years ago, the Times Union made a foray into the community news market and tried to launch micro-sites for each local town — at least one TV station did this, too. Nobody has been able to make it work. Media companies think they can anoint “citizen journalists” (unpaid labor) to provide content for these new ventures, but that’s turned out to be a flawed concept — except maybe on the blog page, where they have to beg people to write and half of them aren’t very good.

      It always comes around to money. As long as you can make enough money to pay people to write and edit, we’ll have local news coverage. The two most important lines on the chart, profits and expenses, keep creeping closer together.

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