I definitely just ordered Writing on the Wall as it combines two of my favorite things… the social internet and anthropological archaeology…
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. Cicero’s web is just one of many historical antecedents of today’s social media. Other prominent examples include the circulation of letters and other documents in the early Christian church; the torrent of printed tracts which circulated in 16th-century Germany, triggering the Reformation; the passing from hand to hand of gossip-laden poetry in the Tudor and Stuart courts; the duelling political pamphlets with which Royalists and Parliamentarians courted public opinion during the English Civil War; the first scientific journals and correspondence societies, which enabled far-flung scientists to discuss and build upon each other’s work; the handwritten poems and newsletters of pre-Revolutionary France, which spread gossip from Paris throughout the country; and the revolutionary pamphlets and local papers that rallied support for American independence. Such social-media systems arose frequently because, for most of human history, social networks were the dominant means by which information spread, in either spoken or written form.
via Writing on the Wall | tomstandage.com.