Olive Riley, the world’s oldest blogger, is gone…is she?

Olive Riley “passed away peacefully on Saturday, July 12”, according to her blog. Olive was 108 years old and therefore the oldest blogger on the planet. Yes, indeed, she blogged. Started in February 2007, encouraged by her friend Mike, Olive (or Ollie to her friends) posted regularly about her life, now and in the past, on her blog. Or blob, as she calls it.

Amazing, A woman, who experienced two century changes (remember, she was born in 1899), keeping a blog. And not only that, she has a large audience too! Thousands of people all over the world followed Ollie’s live.

“People ask me why I do this blob”, Ollie says in her 8th post on March 21st, 2007. “It’s because I can lie in bed just before I go to sleep (that’s when I do most of my thinking) with a smile on my face enjoying about all the things that have happened.” At her age, reading a computer screen is difficult, therefore she does the talking and Mike, her helper, does the typing.

Her posts are full of pictures and every now and then a videoclip (which are put on YouTube, of course). She talks about herself, her family, the changes and developments in the world over the years, stories about the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in March 1932 (see “The Coathanger and the Big Fella”) to a funny story about some of her friends that “peed over the fish”…

She made friends with Maria Amelia Lopez, Spain’s oldest blogger (96 years old), even though Ollie doesn’t speak Spanish and Maria knows no English!

All in all, apart from her age, nothing spectacular or fast or flashy, but very authentic and engaging to a lot of people. No matter what she posts, she receives dozens of comments on all of them, over and over again.

I am touched by this, for many reasons. First, that Ollie stood open for these new and innovative way of communication. No offense, but in all honesty, my parents (who could have been her grandchildren!) hardly understand what a blog is, let alone managing one. But most importantly, I can imagine that, with all the limitations someone has at 108, this kept her going and gave joy to her life. And to many others! It proofs that the internet is ageless, that blogging is ageless and that the (online) world is our community.

Now Ollie is gone. Physically that is. Online she is still on-air, thus alive. So those who want can still enjoy her.

2 Responses to Olive Riley, the world’s oldest blogger, is gone…is she?

  1. Erik says:

    May she rest in peace. Philosophically, is she immortal now?

  2. mike says:

    Dig, Eric sent this to me as one of th best reviews and i have to agree with him. You’ve resurrected one of ollie’s most touching lines, the one explaining why she blogged.

    I wish I’d remembered that before giving my interview to the BBC today. Mike

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