List Price $26.00
Hardcover

Order

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

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

Author Tom Standage
Publisher Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date 2013-10-15
Section New Hardcover - Nonfiction / World History
Type New
Format Hardcover
ISBN 9781620402832

Papyrus rolls and Twitter have much in common, as each was 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 Roman statesmen used to exchange news across the Empire to the advent 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, then radio and television, “mass media” consolidated control of information in the hands of a few moguls. However, the Internet has brought information sharing full circle, and the spreading of news along social networks has reemerged in powerful new ways.

A fresh, provocative exploration of social media over two millennia, Writing on the Wall 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 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.

There are no customer reviews for this item yet.

Online Book Orders in April

Your online book orders will temporarily be fulfilled by our third-party partners at Bookshop at this time. #SupportHarvardBookStore

Learn More »

Support Your Local Indie Bookstore

Here are a few of the ways you can support your bookstore during challenging and uncertain times.

Learn More »

Gift Cards

Support Harvard Book Store's tomorrow. Buy a gift card today. Redeemable in the store and on harvard.com, and they never expire.

Learn More »