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Writing on the Wall: Social Media – The First 2000 Years

Sunday 23 March 2014

1 Hour


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Writer and digital editor Tom Standage argues that there is nothing new about social media – people have been using it for thousands of years. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and their peers are recent forms of instant, critical communication that have sprung up at key times throughout human history, and they connect us directly to history. Standage highlights wall posts on actual walls in ancient villas, how Cicero’s readers would share his letters and how readers in the Elizabethan court created and shared personal profiles. And he shows what John Milton did for today’s blogger and how poems passed along social networks undermined France’s ancien régime.

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