Tuesday, June 25, 2013

History of communications

Information Architecture: An Emerging 21st Century Profession by Earl Morrogh includes a brief history of communications.

The development of the printing press brought:
  • More people had access to knowledge, which was a factor in bringing about the scientific revolution.  
  • The beginning of mass culture, as people in different places read the same books, used the same musical scores, made clothing from the same patterns.
  • Languages that were often used in publishing became national languages, while those not often published became local dialects.  
  • The idea of ownership of words.  Copyright, intellectual property.  
  • A sense of that certain spellings and grammar were correct, while others were incorrect.
Those last two items in particular are something that are so ingrained in my culture, that I don't often think about that fact that it's not the only way to be.

Then came the telegraph.  It was not routinely used by individuals, but was used by governments, business, and the media.  Now people could get stories in their newspapers of things that were happening across the globe soon after they happened.

That's something else that is easy to take for granted.  Imagine what it would be like if we didn't get news from across the globe until letters crossed the ocean by boat.  Or, even before that, imagine when it was not routine for boats to cross the ocean.

Next came the telephone, then radio.  It was thought that radio could be used for education, but it ended up being used more for entertainment. 

Actually, with the printing press, with radio, and with the internet, there was great potential for intellectual use, and these media were used for such lofty purposes, but they also have been used for what appeals to the masses.  When the printing press was invented, one popular use was pornography, which is also a popular use of the internet.  

No comments:

Post a Comment