Random thoughts from an unusual company

Social Media: Back to the 1800’s

Tim Davis  26 January 2012 15:34:45
When I read old ghost stories on my iPad, I keep tapping Define to improve my olde worlde vocab. Most of the time I think I know what a strange word means, but its fun to be able to immediately look it up and see how close I am.

I was reading a ghost story last night, and I came across the word 'epigram'. I know what it means, but was interested in the official definition. Here it is:

"A pithy saying or remark expressing an idea in a clever and amusing way"

Back in the 1800's epigrams were used everywhere for bon-mots, short poems and quips. People used them in letters, in pamphlets, in poetry collections, newpaper quotes, etc. They were the epitome of succinct wit, and were published across all available media of the time. Think of the sayings of Oscar Wilde, or Mark Twain.

Here in the 21st century, we have Twitter's artificial 140 character limit which effectively forces waffley blogs down into neat epigram-sized bites, and provides the medium to broadcast them. For the first time in over a hundred years, we have a means for anyone to publish an epigram.

The internet may be new, but the content is the same as ever. Welcome back to the 1800's.


1Richard Moy  26/01/2012 16:19:08  Social Media: Back to the 1800’s

We had a session at MWLUG 2011 called "Social Media Circa 1863" that talked about Social Media and Social Business in the 19th century that covered the impact of the telegraph. It had a more profound impact on our society then even the Internet which is just an extension of the telegraph concept. My colleagure Rob Burton from Phora Group, presented it. It was inline to what you mentioned here.

2  26/01/2012 18:38:20  Social Media: Back to the 1800’s

@Richard Do you remember James Burke giving a talk at Lotusphere on BP day way back where he talked about revolutions in communications and how they take years to be accepted? He compared the internet to the invention of paper and the printing press, etc. I still think about his talk a lot, even though I can now remember little of it. I also think about the Spaceship Earth ride at Epcot, which has a similar theme.