In an article on Wired in November of 2002, Kendra Mayfield wrote in “Blog to Court: Check Your Facts” about the “first” time a blog influenced and corrected a court decision.
When attorney Howard Bashman noticed a small error in the footnote of a 5th Circuit appellate court opinion, he quickly noted it on his weblog.
The next day, Judge Jerry Smith, who wrote the opinion and also happens to be a reader of Bashman’s blog, fixed the error in an amended version. The judge e-mailed Bashman, personally thanking him for bringing the mistake to his attention.
“It’s the first time that I’ve noticed a weblog credited for pointing out an error and causing a correction (in a court decision),” Bashman said. “This example is noteworthy because it’s the first time that something like this has come to light.”
In the initial ruling (PDF), the court struck down a San Antonio, Texas, ordinance prohibiting adult video stores from setting up shop within 1,000 feet of a residential area.
A former clerk for the 3rd Circuit, Bashman noticed that a ruling mentioned in a footnote was misidentified. He pointed out the error, noting that “the references to the 3rd Circuit contained in footnote 17 of the opinion may be in error, because the opinion, in context, appears to be referring back to decisions from the 8th and 10th Circuits, and not the 3rd.”
The next day, Bashman received an e-mail from Smith stating, “You were the first to spot the error in footnote 17. Thanks. I have fixed it.”
While the article goes on to say that the error would have been corrected no matter who reported it, it’s an interesting “first” for a blog.
MarketingSherpa claims to have invented the first “blog-based professional conference”.
Heather Armstong is considered the “first” to be fired for talking about her job on her blog.
Brigitte Eaton is credited with created the first blog portal with 50 blog listings in 1999.
Pitas launches the first do-it-yourself, online blog building tool in July 1999.
I know there must be more. Do you know of any other “blog firsts”?
Lorelle VanFossen blogs about blogging and WordPress on Lorelle on WordPress and author of Blogging Tips, Tips Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Blogging.