The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

November 5, 2013

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

(Continued)

LONDON — Social media helped Paul build a church; in the hands of Martin Luther, an obscure theologian in the German town of Wittenberg, it helped to split Western Christianity.

Luther hadn't expected his "95 Theses" - a handwritten list of theological challenges to the Catholic doctrine of indulgences, which he proposed as topics of debate in 1517 - to spread as quickly as it did. Manuscript copies of his pioneering listicle passed from hand to hand at first, but then printers got hold of it, accelerating its spread and making it the talk of Germany within two weeks, and of Western Europe in four. Luther realized he could use this new technology, invented a few decades earlier by Johannes Gutenberg, to his further advantage.

He followed up with a series of pamphlets written in vernacular German, giving the text of each to a printer in his home town and waiting for it to ripple to the next town, and the next, through repeated reprinting (akin, you could say, to retweeting). Millions of copies of his pamphlets spread like wildfire throughout Europe between 1517 and 1527 as readers shared and recommended them to their friends, who then sought out their own copies. Thanks to the "marvellous, new and subtle art, the art of printing," one of Luther's contemporaries later noted, "each man became eager for knowledge, not without feeling a sense of amazement at his former blindness." This posed a dilemma for the Catholic Church, which was initially reluctant to respond with pamphlets of its own, because doing so would be an admission that theological matters were open to debate. The extraordinary popularity of Luther's pamphlets signaled to him, and to his readers, the breadth of support for his views - just as social media revealed the extent of anti-government feeling in Egypt and Tunisia, a phenomenon that modern media scholars call "synchronization of opinion." Luther's message went viral, and the result was the Reformation.

               

3. John Harington

Text Only
Southeast Iowa
  • Darth Vader is polling higher than all potential 2016 presidential candidates

    On the other hand, with a net favorability of -8, Jar Jar is considerably more popular than the U.S. Congress, which currently enjoys a net favorability rating of -65.

    July 25, 2014

  • Taking a look at Iowa's rural bridges and roads

    OSKALOOSA — National statistics indicate that Iowa roads and bridges are in desperate need of repair.According to the Rural Connections: Challenges and Opportunities in America’s Heartland report, 22 percent of Iowa’s rural bridges are deficient.Maha

    July 25, 2014

  • 0726 OTT cedar creek Gone in a flash

    BLOOMFIELD — Bob Parker got about as close to lightning as you can Friday morning, and came out of it without injury. A line of thunderstorms started moving through southeast Iowa in the early morning hours. Parker was heading to work at about 7 a.m.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Southeast Iowa's Lake Darling State Park reopens BRIGHTON, Iowa (AP) — Lake Darling State Park has reopened after around six years of restoration work in southeast Iowa's Washington County. The $16 million project began in 2008 and included draining the 300-acre lake and replacing a dam. The park n

    July 25, 2014

  • Honey Creek Resort recognized for recycling MORAVIA — Honey Creek Resort State Park on Rathbun Lake has been selected as having the best government recycling program by the Iowa Recycling Association.“Iowa’s Greenest Resort” received the award July 17 during the Iowa Recycling Association annu

    July 24, 2014

  • Mammoth photo 2 Researchers find mammoth ankle

    OSKALOOSA — Researchers at the mammoth dig site in rural Mahaska County recently found an articulated mammoth ankle — a very interesting find.“It tells us something we never knew before,” said Dave Brenzel of the Indian Creek Nature Center. The mammo

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Van Buren says bye-bye to Waste Management KEOSAUQUA — Waste Management has been charging the Van Buren Community School District an average of nearly $1,600 a month to remove waste and recycled materials from the Douds and Keosauqua centers. Now faced with a bidding process, Waste Management

    July 23, 2014

  • MINE logo.jpg Two arrested on drug charges

    The Mid-Iowa Narcotics Enforcement drug task force executed a search warrant in Knoxville last night. A man and a woman were arrested. 

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Propane suppliers: buy ahead to avoid price spikes DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — State officials and propane suppliers are advising consumers to fill their tanks before cold weather arrives because prices could climb again this winter. The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1obSe2U ) prices will

    July 23, 2014

  • Military Retiree Appreciation Day Aug. 28 near Pella A military Retiree Appreciation Day will be held Thursday, Aug. 28 at the Prairie Meadows Race Track and Casino in Altoona, Iowa. Retirees from all branches of the armed forces and their family members are eligible to attend. The event will run from

    July 23, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National