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Writing on the Wall

Social Media--The First 2,000 Years

by Tom Standage

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From the bestselling author of A History of the World in 6 Glasses, the story of social media from ancient Rome to the Arab Spring and beyond.

Social media is anything but a new phenomenon. From the papyrus letters that Cicero and other Roman statesmen used to exchange news, to the hand-printed tracts of the Reformation and the pamphlets that spread propaganda during the American and French revolutions, the ways people shared information with their peers in the past are echoed in the present.

Standage reminds us how historical social networks have much in common with modern social media. The Catholic Church's dilemmas in responding to Martin Luther's attacks are similar to those of today's large institutions in responding to criticism on the Internet, for example, and seventeenth-century complaints about the distractions of coffeehouses mirror modern concerns about social media. Invoking figures from Thomas Paine to Vinton Cerf, co-inventor of the Internet, Standage explores themes that have long been debated, from the tension between freedom of expression and censorship to social media's role in spurring innovation and fomenting revolution. Writing on the Wall draws on history to cast provocative new light on today's social media and encourages debate and discussion about how we'll communicate in the future.

Publication Details

Publisher:
Bloomsbury Publishing
Imprint:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date:
2013

Format

  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
  • Adobe EPUB eBook 3.6 MB

Tom Standage (Author)

Tom Standage is digital editor at the Economist and editor-in-chief of its website, Economist.com. He is the author of six history books, including An Edible History of Humanity, the New York Times bestseller A History of the World in Six Glasses ...

More about Tom Standage
Writing on the Wall
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