First-person direct (Part 4): Right up to the last moment

Saturday 30 March 2013, 11.21am HKT


WE LIKE what we see when senior citizens are still in the prime by blogging away and trying to tell us something about their lives and experiences so that the rest of us young’uns don’t run into the same roadblocks. Alas…


Those who gave a sh*t and wrote regardless

Ruth Hamilton

Ruth Hamilton 109th Birthday

American Ruth Hamilton (1898–2008) blogged up until her death just weeks shy of her 110th birthday, outranking Olive Riley (below) as the actual world’s oldest blogger.

She first became a teacher in 1916 in Iowa and was one of America’s first female radio talkshow hosts.

She was asked to create content for social networking site, producing dozens of video blogs. Unlike other senior citizen bloggers or vloggers, Ruth’s posts weren’t dictated to someone else.

(Photo via Shambles Manor)

Olive Riley

Olive Riley at the computer 108yoMainstream media more usually credits the world’s oldest blogger title to Australian Olive Riley (1899–2008) of Woy Woy, New South Wales, until her passing on 12 July 2008, aged 108.

She created her blog (which she jokingly labelled as her “blob”) in February 2007.

“Olive Riley had posted more than 70 entries about her life since she began her blog in February 2007. She shared her thoughts on modern life and experiences of living through the entire 20th Century, including two world wars and the Great Depression. In her final entry on 26 June [2008], she described singing a happy song at her care home with nurses and a visitor.” — BBC News Asia-Pacific, 14 July 2008, 11.47 GMT | Link

Olive Riley’s blog ( no longer contains her blog entries.

(Photo via Shambles Manor)

Ivy Bean

ivy bean with peter andre

Ivy Bean (1905–2010, aged 104) of Bradford, UK, was something of a British Internet personality, known for being the oldest person in world on both Facebook and Twitter. In that case, she was the oldest microblogger. Her Twitter account is still accessible (no updates).

(Photo via Twitter)

María Amelia López Soliño

maria amelia lopez solino

Spaniard María Amelia López Soliño (1911–2009) became the world’s oldest blogger upon Riley’s death until her own passing in 2009, aged 98.

Her blog ( was created on 23 Dec 2006 as a birthday present (“my grandson, who is very stingy, gave me a blog”). Her family continues running the blog.

(Photo via

Randall Mohan Butisingh

randall butisingh 2008

The most recent oldest blogger was poet and teacher Randall Mohan Butisingh (born 1912 in British Guiana, now Guyana) who passed away aged 100 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on 9 Dec 2012. His blog’s first post was dated 21 Oct 2007. Read his bio here.

I’m no poetry man, so I’m not in the know about who’s who in the poetry world, but I think Butisingh was actually world-famous.

(Photo via Kaieteur News of Georgetown, Guyana)

Allan Lööf

allan loof

Allan Lööf of either Finspång or Norrkoping, Sweden, started his blog in October 2005 and was active on it until his passing on 13 Oct 2008, aged 97. His blog Allan Lööf, 96—Sveriges äldsta bloggare? is still accessible.

Read the OhmyNews article about him and his blogging.

(Photo via OhmyNews)

Donald Crowdis

donald crowdis

Canadian Donald Crowdis (1913–2011, aged 97) was a museum curator and broadcaster. His “Don To Earth” blog was first at Blogspot (July 2006 – March 2007) and then at WordPress (May 2007 – November 2008).

(Photo by Gill via Flickr)

Ray White

ray white in 2006

USA Today ran an article on 6 Nov 2005 about senior citizen bloggers, among them Tennessee tomato grower Ray White (then aged 92).

Research by OhmyNews International in 2006 revealed White was America’s oldest blogger.

His blog Dad’s Tomato Garden Journal started in 2003 and had been viewed some 45,000 times by 2006. His regular readers who knew they could rely on White six days a week.

Eric Shackle wrote an article about White in January 2007. No further news about White, who if still alive would be 100 years old today.

(Photo © Ray White, 2006, via OhmyNews)


Current oldest contenders

WHO THE oldest bloggers still writing aren’t exactly known but the message from The Ageless Project is that the personal, creative side of the web is diverse and ageless.

Chiu Pak, 97, Hong Kong

hong kong sar flag

Chiu Pak 超伯 (‘Uncle Chiu’), 97, has been cited as Hong Kong’s oldest blogger in a tweet (Janet Yu, 5 Sept 2010). He blogs in Chinese at his Yahoo blog Desk970.

His first authentically dated entry is from 14 March 2007, and all the earlier ones dated 1 Jan 1970 (which could only be a placeholder date). As I don’t read or write Chinese, I can’t tell what he writes about, but the presentation seems disciplined, calm and structured.

Kirk Douglas, 96, USA

kirk douglas

Actor Kirk Douglas (born 1916) is practically the last remnant of The Golden Age of Hollywood.

He blogs from his MySpace page (no updates since January 2011).

Read his Wikipedia entry, which makes for some interesting family history.

(Photo via My Pretty Baby Cried She Was a Bird)

Eric Shackle, 94, Australia

Australian Eric Shackle, 94 (born 1919), of Sydney might well be the world’s oldest working investigative journalist too. He writes for webzines worldwide and is author of The World’s First Multi-National e-Book.

australia flag flagsdotnet

Since 2005, he is a working journalist with his own column at Pencil Stubs Online, an Internet literary magazine. He is also copy editor of Anu Garg’s Seattle-based “A Word A Day,” a free newsletter emailed five days a week to more than a million word lovers in 200 countries.

His two personal blogs are Life Begins at 80 (October 2007 to June 2010) and Nimble Nonagenarians (since May 2011).

Millie Garfield, 87, USA

usa flag flagsdotnet

American Millie Garfield, 87, of Portland, Massachusetts, runs My Mom’s Blog by Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Her first entry was dated 10 January 2003, which makes her not only one of the oldest-aged bloggers but one of the earliest.



The Blogger’s Code of Conduct is a proposal by Tim O’Reilly for bloggers to enforce civility on their blogs by being civil themselves and moderating comments on their blog. It proposed seven ideas:—

  1. Take responsibility not just for your own words, but for the comments you allow on your blog.
  2. Label your tolerance level for abusive comments.
  3. Consider eliminating anonymous comments.
  4. Ignore the trolls.
  5. Take the conversation offline, and talk directly, or find an intermediary who can do so.
  6. If you know someone who is behaving badly, tell them so.
  7. Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say in person.

The code was proposed due to threats made to blogger Kathy Sierra.

Have a look at CERN’s own Blogging Code of Conduct, issued 19 Sept 2012 by the CERN Computer Security Team.

Nate Anderson, deputy editor of respected technology site Ars Technica, points out some of the difficulties about O’Reilly’s proposed code of conduct:—

Judgment calls are difficult to make, and won’t always be made consistently, […] This particular code may not be one that is truly suitable for the entire blogosphere, but it does contain some good principles. […] Still, suggesting that all bloggers voluntarily follow this single set of guidelines seems both impractical and unnecessary. […] People differ on determining when an attack on another person is ‘unfair,’ or even ‘threatening.’ Plenty of web users have a libertarian ethos and might object to posts being censored to fit someone’s notion of civility, and they might see profanity, abuse, and ad hominem attacks as a simple part of the normal give-and-take of any heated discussion. […] Attempts at separating the sheep from the goats online can unfairly stigmatize those who don’t accept the code wholesale, […]”

— Nate Anderson (“Blogger Code of Conduct: the tyranny of good intentions,” Ars Technica, 10 April 2007)


Or we could spell it out for you…


It isn’t bad to follow this one
Saves time, if nothing else

(via Lauren Papworth)

(click for full size 736 × 1110)



© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2013. (B13097) IMAGES: All images of flags via
Updated 02 Apr 2013 (added more tag)

2 Responses to “First-person direct (Part 4): Right up to the last moment”

  1. lawmrh said

    Great post! Hadn’t known about so many octogenarian plus bloggers. I’ve always found older folks and their life stories eminently fascinating. Thanks for sharing!


    • Ach! I tell you these oldies are way more fantastic writers than any of us. I’ve since discovered there are tons of these people blogging in other languages. My only regret is my French, German, Italian, Chinese, etc, just ain’t up to scratch to even have a notional idea of their topics. The common pattern running among these people is that they truly are young-at-heart, which is more than I can say for myself at this moment…


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