The Tyranny of the Timestamp

If Jane Austen had published Pride and Prejudice on her blog, do you think you’d know who she is today?

If the first chapter had been dated 1813, do you think you might have skipped past it when googling for “should I marry for love or financial stability” in 1823? How about 1833?

Hell, would it have even appeared in the search results two decades later? Would she have uploaded it to Geocities or Myspace, not realizing that before long, it would be lost to the ether forever?

But assuming it survived until the iPhone era, would her writing have worked on mobile? Would it have been SEO-friendly? And even if it was, would you really read something so long after stumbling across it on the internet? Would your friends read something so long after sharing it with them?

Would the algorithms simplify classify it as “too old; too long; didn’t read”, and that’s where the story ends?