Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Community News Network

November 5, 2013

5 historical pioneers of social media: Martin Luther invented the listicle

(Continued)

LONDON — Today, using Twitter, Facebook and blogs to improve your "personal brand" is social media 101. But it was Elizabethan courtier John Harington who, in the 16th century, pioneered the use of social media for self-promotion (though today he is better known as the inventor of the flushing toilet).

The son of a poet and an attendant to Elizabeth I, he was one of the childless queen's 102 godchildren. He first appeared at court at age 21 and quickly made a name for himself with his snarky epigrams. Satirical and daring in their humor, the chief purpose of these short, snappy messages (today, they'd fit neatly into a tweet) was to advertise the dazzling intellect of their author and advance his career. He became known as the queen's "saucy godson" for quips like this one: "Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason? Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason." He even dared to criticize the queen's father, Henry VIII, for his unfortunate habit of having his wives beheaded. In one of his epigrams, a noblewoman receives an invitation to marry the king, but declines:

               ". . . I greatly thank the king your master,

               And would (such love in me his fame hath bred)

               My body venture so: but not my head."

His quips were eagerly whispered from one courtier to another and circulated in written form within the court and beyond. Harington himself gave manuscripts of his collected epigrams to close friends and family members. He liked to play the part of the wise fool, jesting on the sidelines of Elizabeth's court and wrapping up his moral and political barbs in apparently harmless witticisms - their true meaning only apparent once the laughter had subsided. For Harington and his contemporaries, writing poetry was a way to establish a reputation and win a place at court. Poetry in the Elizabethan court could be used to ask for advancement or, in the event of falling from favor, to apologize for misdeeds. Harington's poetry convinced the queen of his cleverness, and she eventually gave him official duties to perform as a courtier, tutor and military observer. After a checkered career in which he often got into trouble for overstepping the mark, he eventually ended up with a knighthood.

               

4. Thomas Paine

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Why a see-through mouse is a big deal for scientists

    A group of Caltech researchers announced in Cell Thursday their success in making an entire organism transparent. Unfortunately, this isn't any kind of "Invisible Man" scenario: The organism in question is a mouse, and the mouse in question is quite dead.

    July 31, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.