Friday, December 27, 2013

Social Media: The First 2,000 Years (audio)

Wisdom Quarterly; Tom Standage, Mitch Jeserich (KPFA), Frank Rose (NY Times, 11-1-13)
Through the ages: A Roman wax tablet and its 21st-century electronic descendant, the iPad.

The Romans had social media and tablets. The Victorians had an Internet. We are taught to believe it's novel, but it's the way things were before media got centralized. Technology has just returned us to where we were with everything potentially faster and cheaper.

For nearly 20 years, we’ve thought of “new media” as the brash young upstart and “old media” as the stalwart if increasingly embattled establishment. 

But what if new media aren’t as new as we assume -- and old media not really old at all?
Social media history (
So argues Tom Standage in Writing on the Wall, a provocative book that asks us to look at media less in terms of technology -- digital or analog -- than in terms of the role they invite us to play. Are we passive receptors for whatever facts, opinions, and ad messages come our way? 

Or are we participants, sharing what we like with others, amending or commenting in the process? The second is characteristic of the Internet in general and social media in particular. But there’s nothing revolutionary about this, Standage says. 

Instead, it’s the role of consumer, so typical of 20th-­century mass media, that’s unnatural -- and to Standage, a historical blip. This observation has been made before, but never with such a wealth of information to back it up. Standage -- the digital editor at The Economist and the author of such unorthodox chronicles as... More

Writing on the Wall: Social Media — The First 2,000 Years by Tom Standage. Illustrated. 278 pp. Bloomsbury.

No comments: