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Monday, March 26, 2012

Britain's original information revolution

We may think we are in the middle of a communications revolution: Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Hulu, iTunes. Did any of those mean anything five years ago? But all of them are, in their ways, secondary phenomena. Some of them are image-based, post-literate, but none would work without the foundations of a much deeper communications revolution which swept across Europe 400 years ago. The 17th century is when the Europeans started to write: letters, diaries, journals, notebooks, account books, commonplace books, business correspondence, pamphlets, posters, chapbooks, newspapers. It was the first communications revolution, which both spawned and reflected the most revolutionary century we have ever had - Adam Nicolson

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