History is made by blog writers, not winners.
If a tree falls in a forest and there’s no-one to hear it, does it make a sound?
And if ancient two city-states engage in a decade-long war, hammering away at each other with swords made of bronze, but no-one writes about it, has it really happened?
History isn’t made by generals or great reformers, it’s made by whoever can be bothered to write down what they’ve seen, heard or thought about.
I consider Homer to be the first blogger. He may have been beaten to it by some Babylonian or Egyptian inspired to put chisel to stone or stylus to copper cylinder, but the important thing is that we can still read his posts.
No-one seems to agree when Homer was around; somewhere between 1100 and 850BC maybe. The problem is, no-one was around to blog about his birthday.
The fall of Troy probably happened at least 100 years before he was born and the stories were probably already getting a little exaggerated. But without Homer writing them down, would Heinrich Schliemann have been inspired to dig around the Turkish coast in the 1870s until he found the ruins of Troy and confirm that Homer’s blog was actually history?
Top blogging tips from past masters
I’m a firm believer that there’s nothing new under the sun and we can always learn (or copy) from the past, so here are a few top tips I’ve identified:
- Don’t forget to market yourself
You’re a business person, not a novelist. You’re not taking time out of your busy day to entertain strangers but to interact with people who may become fans and customers. Take a leaf out of Julius Caesar’s book, The Gallic Wars. It’s the only, official account of his pacification of Gaul because he didn’t leave many losers alive to write about it. He made sure the folks back in Rome read how great he was in order to build a (short-lived) political career.
- You never know what other people find interesting
Diary writers are the ultimate bloggers. History can now be recreated from archaeology into cold facts but bloggers add the warmth and colour. I love the everyday trivia that Samuel Pepys thought to record that would never have left a permanent mark in any Time Team dig.
- Stick at it
The team of bloggers who put together the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles kept it going from the 9th to the 12th Century, so once you’ve started, make sure your enthusiasm doesn’t fizzle out after 3 weeks. Keep those posts coming and routine intervals, so readers learn to expect them.
So if you’re thinking about starting a blog or are already doing one, consider what you could be leaving behind for people to read in 3000 years’ time, assuming we’re still reading by then.