140 – How Life Changed in The Last Decade (6)

twitter
Twitter is today what a blog
blog was a decade ago. Before that …messages in a bottle?

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4 thoughts on “140 – How Life Changed in The Last Decade (6)

  1. Before blogs… Community Boards.

    Before community boards… SIGs, special interest groups like on AOL. And before that, a bunch of arcane Internet protocols.

    I’ve been doing this for a long time.

  2. Silence?! Only in small doses. Humanity is addicted to stimuli. ;-)

    Following on John’s reply: before that, it was columnists, the Op-Ed page, and the Letters to the Editor, in daily and/or weekly printed newspapers. (and the newspaperman who invented the Op-Ed page– “Opinions and Editorials” for you post-newsprint folks– just died a few weeks ago! I saw his obituary in The Week) I don’t count radio or television, for two reasons: first, it is a single-direction flow, despite attempts to make it seem otherwise, e.g. reading “letters from listeners” on the air and responding to them. Second, it is completely ephemeral, at least from the point of view of the audience: if you miss the broadcast, you missed it. You can’t go back and check to see if you remembered that witty quip correctly. You can’t clip it and show it to your neighbor or post it on your refrigerator or dorm-room door… all analogs of how we save, savor, and share tweets and blogs etc.

    So, going back even further, I submit for your consideration the handbill, cheaply printed and distributed for free by insistent children (hoping for an occasional tip from a grateful reader), and glued to any flat vertical surface in the city late at night when property owners and police would not notice the act. Even today you’ll see anachronistic signs in older American cities, saying “Post No Bills” — that forbids handbills glued to a fence or wall, not invoices mailed by USPS.

    Before the handbill (variants of which date back to Roman and Egyptian times!) I suppose there was the town crier, although I’d discount him too, for same reason I discount radio and television. You could demand that he repeat his announcement if you missed it, but you couldn’t converse or argue with him about its content, and you couldn’t save it for later reference. Though I suppose gossip– “the grapevine”– would distribute the crier’s news pretty widely, though not necessarily very accurately.

    Me, I prefer the handbill to Twitter. But I do enjoy blogs. Like this one! ;-)

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