Tom Standage: Lessons from Ancient Social Media at TEDxOxbridge (Transcript)

Full transcript of journalist and author Tom Standage’s TEDx Talk: Lessons from Ancient Social Media at TEDxOxbridge Conference.

Full speaker bio:


Book(s) by the speaker:

Writing on the Wall: Social Media – The First 2,000 Years 

An Edible History of Humanity

A History of the World in Six Glasses

The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century’s On-line Pioneers


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Tom Standage – Journalist and author

I’m going to talk to you about social media. And you may say, “Oh, no. Not someone else waffling on about social media!” But I am going to give you a different way of looking at social media, one that I am pretty confident you won’t have heard of before. I want to give you a historical perspective on social media.

But in order to do that, we have to decide first what social media actually is. So this is my definition of it, here. It’s media we get, crucially, from other people. And then it’s exchanged along social connections, and it creates a distributed discussion or community, beyond the room and beyond the people you’re physically with.

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