- 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 Audiobook – 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.
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 ›
I found some of his anecdotes a bit dull and his general style is rather earnest. Nonetheless, it
As a reluctant convert to Kindle I have to say that the convenience is fantastic but it still isn't paper though is it?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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
I heard Tom Standage talking about his book, about a week before I bought it. He was extremely enthusiastic about his subject is a way that you can't fake. Read morePublished on 5 Dec. 2013 by Mr. Leslie J. Moore
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