- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 10 hours
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Tantor Audio
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 15 Oct. 2013
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00FQ8SNTQ
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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Writing on the Wall: Social Media: The First 2,000 Years Audio Download – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
It's a neat piece of insight which doesn't just give us a new way of looking at the past, it also shows us how lessons from the past help us predict even the most modern of technological developments.
What expands Ton Standage's work to a full book is the chapters on the Romans, Martin Luther and so on. If you are not familiar with these parts of history, they make for a great set of summaries which add a persuasive weight of evidence to Standage's case.
If you are familiar with these parts of history already, then the chapters are a little staid - they are good, competent summaries of what happened but don't have a style or set of insights that raise them beyond the many other existing accounts of such periods that exist already. Once, for example, you have the point about 16th century poetry used to be passed round, commented on and amended in a way similar to modern social sharing, the chapter does not offer much for anyone already familiar with the basics of 16th century history.
But for most readers, that existing breadth of knowledge does not apply, and the weight of examples makes the book rather more persuasive, if a little less lively, than a Malcolm Gladwell volume.
I found some of his anecdotes a bit dull and his general style is rather earnest. Nonetheless, it
However, what I found the most interesting was not so much the idea that the social nature of media hasn't changed (except recently) it was the fact that the reaction of society to changes in media is really what hasn't changed. Every time of new form of information sharing emerges - especially one which allows greater levels of participation - the old elites raise the same protests: the fact that the new participants are in some way unqualified to participate, or that participation is generally frivolous, time-wasting, or damaging to mankind's overall well-being. Of course, what is usually the only thing damaged is said elite's ability to run things in a way that has made them an elite in the first place.
Personally I don't entirely buy into the book's main premise. For example, I think the desire to focus on the social (i.e. interpersonal) nature of communication before mass media leads to an underestimation of the impact of printing. Printing was much more than pamphleting - albeit pamphlets were the main printed expressions of personal / political ideas. Likewise this focus may cause the importance of industrialised printing and the growth of the mass media to be over-emphasised. In reality, the elites have always been in control because the means of distributing information (be they slave messengers or steam printing presses) were always expensive.Read more ›
The author starts with pre-historic humans and their development as highly social animals. Our remote ancestors groomed each other for social cohesion. Later they developed language (and gossip). The invention of writing allowed this social activity to be spread across place and time. The growth of literacy allowed social interaction to increase. Printing boosted the process. Now social media and the Internet in general have given it a further boost.
In the beginning were the Greeks, wavering between the spoken and written word. Then came the Romans. Roman patricians, most notably Cicero, were prolific exchangers of letters; their plebeian inferiors were prolific writers on walls. St Paul kept the embryonic Christian movement alive with his epistles (letters). Christianity triumphed, then ossified. Attempts at reform were at first unsuccessful.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Explores the historical roots of the internet culture, that shows the social media not only connects us today but it is closely linked to our past. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Bruce Lloyd
Completely changed my perspective on social media. The book is an entertaining read all the way from ancient times to the early days of the penny press. Read morePublished on 2 Mar. 2014 by Peter Svarre
This is an insightful and well written book with relevance for anyone who is interested in how people share news and shape opinions.Published on 21 Feb. 2014 by Ms Sarah M Ryan
You can always rely on Tom Standage for a great read with lots of interesting facts and this is no exception. I love all the stuff from different periods of time.Published on 10 Jan. 2014 by Soosipicc
This gives a great backround to the story of Social Media over millenia. The similarity of twitterbook and friends with historical technologies is obvious but better for being put... Read morePublished on 10 Jan. 2014 by KerrymanJack
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