Did blogs come first or newspapers? The Daily Courant, first published in 1702, was the first British daily newspaper, we are told. It was a one-page newspaper, with advertisements on the reverse side, according to Wikipedia. Better known by far, however, are the periodical Tatler (1709-1711) and the daily Spectator (1711-1712) founded by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele – and what they wrote were essays.
Dr Samuel Johnson continued that tradition, writing essays which appeared in the periodical, The Rambler (1750-1752). He even wrote about not wanting to write. This essay, which appeared in The Rambler, begins almost like an entry in a personal blog: