Social Networking Circa 1750

Mitch JoelPosted by

Curious how ideas spread (or don’t)?

This is what happens when you match the Old School with the New School: YouTube – Tracking 18th-century "social network" through letters.

(hat tip: Hugh McGuire).

7 comments

  1. The reasons we relate information to our networks don’t seem to change much…we just get to do it faster now. One question to ask ourselves is Does making it easier and faster to spread ideas lower the average quality of the ideas themselves?

  2. It’s quite amazing to see communication when its mapped out this in this fashion and in a sense it seems that nothing has changed much except for speed and copyright laws.
    This would be a neat tool in being able to visualize web traffic to a site and other purposes beyond.

  3. There is also a professor at University of Virginia, Rob Cross, who does this kind of tracking within of networking organizations. His work is fascinating. It clearly demonstrates that those employees who are well networked and understand what their colleagues do are more successful.

  4. I think we can all concur that waiting weeks/months for correspondance to reach its destination, simmer, and replied to is a thing of the past. You might be correct though saying that quality suffers as a result. See: Twitter. Half of the messages when read out of context don’t make sense nor are they relevant. Nevermind @replies.
    So it makes me think that people today are often more concerned of their own vanities, the perceived value of others’ work, benefits of “friending” others on account of their influence, and other factors that remind me of high school politics.
    One thing’s for sure: technology is breaking barriers down worldwide. The world might be a better place with 140 character blasts, but I also hope that depth finds its place too a la Glenn Greenwald (Salon) or Jay Rosen (NYU).

  5. So it makes me think that people today are often more concerned of their own vanities, the perceived value of others’ work, benefits of “friending” others on account of their influence, and other factors that remind me of high school politics.

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