Le Devoir, an independent French language newspaper from Montreal, recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. Jean Dion, one of their star columnists, wrote an article detailing what you could find in the first and second editions published in January 1910. Of note, the second issue saw the birth of the “Mondanités” column (society gossip). The column mentions the latest weddings and funerals happening in Montreal but I was specifically intrigued by a section called “déplacements” (movements).
Dion writes (loosely translated from French):
… the “movements” section is quite comical when you look at it with the eyes of a modern reader. “Mr. Ovila Perrault from Imperial Tobacco is back from a trip to New York.” “Mr. Omer Marchand, architect, is in Quebec City.” “Mr. Montarville B. de LaBruère jr. is back from a 10-day trip to Sorel”. Nothing more, nothing less.
Wow. And here we thought location-based status updates had been invented by Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare or Gowalla. People used to broadcast their trip information in the newspaper! This was certainly done for two reasons: information (i.e. don’t try to reach me, I’m in New York.) and status. The more things change…