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

Writing on the Wall: Social Media - The First 2,000 Years Writing on the Wall: Social Media - The First 2,000 Years by Tom Standage
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm a fan of Tom Standage's work. He captures history in some rather fascinating ways and connects it to the everyday life of people in unexpected ways. Writing On the Wall is no different and of course, more dear to my heart as he meticulously traces the history of the characteristics of social media far back to ancient times. He identifies the various ways in which humans use and engage with social media today (along with the how the mainstream culture questions, values, and devalues these exchanges) and finds their historical analogues. We find Circero telling his informers to write him letters even when there is nothing new to write as well as the graffiti-laden walls of ancient cities, not just filled with irrelevant messages but advertisements, lovers' exchanges, and other content that holds meaning. It is an argument that I greatly appreciate since I also see that though there is change of format, there has not necessarily a change in the style, approach, and meaning of human exchange.

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