P.T. Barnum would have loved the Internet. The renowned showman and serial hoaxer never actually said "There's a sucker born every minute" (a competitor did), but no one proved the point better than he. His spirit lives on in the "truthy" new world of do-it-yourself digital publishing and social media.
Take this hot item replicating furiously wherever folks share stuff online: "Abraham Lincoln Filed a Patent for Facebook in 1845."
It's an article by blogger Nate St. Pierre informing us of his discovery of a patent application proving that the Great Emancipator-to-be, then an itinerant lawyer based in Springfield, Illinois, invented a mid-nineteenth-century, paper-and-ink version of Facebook, complete with profile pictures, status updates, shared posts, and the ability for each participant to choose "if he shall make his page Available to the entire Town, or only to those with whom he has established Family or Friendship."
Ironically, the patent request was denied. But it's a false irony, given that the story is a fabrication from top to bottom. Lincoln invented no such thing. The true irony is that despite numerous clues to its mendacity within the body of the text itself including shout-outs to the "master bluffer" himself, P.T. Barnum so many people bought it hook, line, and sinker... and shared it with all their Facebook friends.
Well done, Mr. St. Pierre!