Writing on the Wall Social Media - The First 2,000 Years

ISBN-10: 1620402831

ISBN-13: 9781620402832

Edition: 2013

Authors: Tom Standage

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Description:

Papyrus rolls and Twitter have much in common: They were their generation’s signature means of “instant” communication. Indeed, as Tom Standage reveals in his scintillating new book, social media is anything but a new phenomenon.From the papyrus letters that Cicero and other Roman statesmen used to exchange news across the Empire to the rise of hand-printed tracts of the Reformation to the pamphlets that spread propaganda during the American and French revolutions, Standage chronicles the increasingly sophisticated ways people shared information with each other, spontaneously and organically, down the centuries. With the rise of newspapers in the nineteenth century, the nature of communication changed; increasingly, especially as radio and television, the “mass media,” came to dominate in the twentieth century, information was centrally controlled. However, with the advent of the Internet, the story has come full circle, and the spreading of information along social networks has reemerged in powerful new ways.A fresh, provocative exploration of social media over two millennia, Writing on the Wall constantly reminds us how modern behavior echoes that of prior centuries—the Catholic Church, for example, faced similar dilemmas in deciding whether or how to respond to Martin Luther’s attacks in the early sixteenth century to those that large institutions confront today in responding to public criticism on the Internet. Invoking the likes of Thomas Paine, the celebrated Madame Doublet in the French Revolution, and Vinton Cerf, co-inventor of the Internet, Standage explores themes that have long been debated: the tension between freedom of expression and censorship; whether social media trivializes, coarsens or enhances public discourse; and its role in spurring innovation, enabling self-promotion, and fomenting revolution. As engaging as it is visionary, Writing on the Wall draws on history to cast new light on today’s social media and encourages debate and discussion about how we’ll communicate in the future.
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Book details

List price: $26.00
Copyright year: 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Publication date: 10/15/2013
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 288
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.75" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.452
Language: English

Tom Standage is a journalist and author from England. A graduate of Oxford University, he has worked as a science and technology writer for The Guardian, as the business editor at The Economist, has been published in Wired, The New York Times, and The Daily Telegraph. His non-fiction works include The Victorian Internet, A History of the World in Six Glasses, An Edible History of Humanity (on the New York Times bestseller list in 2014), and Writing on the Wall: Social Media -- The First 2,000 Years.

Introduction: Cicero's Web
The Ancient Foundations of Social Media: Why Humans Are Wired for Sharing
The Roman Media: The First Social-Media Ecosystem
How Luther Went Viral: The Role of Social Media in Revolutions (1)
Poetry in Motion: Social Media for Self-Expression and Self-Promotion
Let Truth and Falsehood Grapple: The Challenges of Regulating Social Media
And So to the Coffeehouse: How Social Media Promotes Innovation
The Liberty of Printing: The Role of Social Media in Revolutions (2)
The Sentinel of the People: Tyranny, Optimism, and Social Media
The Rise of Mass Media: The Centralization Begins
The Opposite of Social Media: Media in the Broadcast Era
The Rebirth of Social Media: From ARPANET to Facebook
Epilogue: History Retweets Itself
Acknowledgments
Notes
Sources
Index
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