The WSJ has the goods, and the expert they interview lives in my town!
A diary from the Civil War shows the limited amount of space allotted to each date in a pocket diary.
But it turns out that the way people share information on Twitter bears some similarities to the way they shared it more than 200 years before the service was created in 2006, according to Cornell professor Lee Humphreys, who has been comparing messages from Twitter and those from diaries in the 18th and 19th centuries.
A quick look at a few of the entries from several diaries shows that Twitter’s famous 140-character limit wouldn’t have been a problem for these writers:
April 27, 1770: Made Mead. At the assembly.
May 14, 1770: Mrs. Mascarene here and Mrs. Cownsheild. Taken very ill. The Doctor bled me. Took an anodyne.
Sept. 7, 1792: Fidelia Mirick here a visiting to-day.
Jan. 26, 1873: Cold disagreeable day. Felt very badly all day long and lay on the sofa all day. Nothing took place worth noting.
Before the end of the 19th century, diaries weren’t considered private or introspective. Instead, people wrote semi-public diaries that were often shared among faraway family members and others. And space was at a premium; by the mid-1800s, popular “pocket diaries” were only about 2 inches by 4 inches and were intended to be more mobile than earlier books.
Read the whole thing HERE