The Curmudgeon


Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Blogosphere During the Palaeolithic

The extent to which the so-called Palaeolithic blogosphere resembled our own is still a highly controversial question among experts, although it is generally agreed that, since everyone believed the earth was flat, the world-wide web could not have supported a blogosphere as such. Various terms, such as blogoplate, blogopancake and blogosavannah, have been suggested to designate the Palaeolithic equivalent, but none has yet gained general acceptance.

The rapid and convenient structuring of weblogs which is characteristic of today's blogosphere was almost completely absent, and it is generally agreed that participants had to utilise flint tools and do their own formatting. Given the general absence of home computers and the corresponding abundance of forest and jungle, it is likely that the weblogs were constructed out of actual wooden logs and updated on the palaeolithic telephone system via trunk calls.

Editing facilities were extremely primitive; although cutting and copying were both well known processes, the idea of pasting had not yet come into general use, resulting in oversized clipboards which had to be made out of mammoth hide and may have led to the creature's being hunted into extinction by highly organised teams of nerds. Editing was further hampered by the fact that the computer mouse had not yet been domesticated or bred into its present tractable form; the nearest contemporary equivalent being the sabre-toothed rhinocerous rat which inhabited the feverish rain-forests of what is now Basingstoke. Many of these rats have been found with their necks neatly broken in what was indubitably an attempt to attain a reliable clicking mechanism.

It is generally agreed that cave paintings did not form part of the world-wide web at this time, partly because they are notoriously difficult to save in appropriate formats but mainly because they could not be uploaded without considerable loss of definition. This was undoubtedly owing to the primitive state of instantaneous electronic communication during this period; in fact, according to some authorities communication was often scarcely "electronic" at all and was "instantaneous" only in the very loose sense achievable by highly trained runners carrying stone tablets by hand. Indeed, some experts have hypothesized that the nomadic nature of Palaeolithic tribes resulted from the slowness of their email facilities, so that it was quicker for them to move around and collect their messages physically rather than simply wait for them to drop onto the local henge.


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