The Original Social Networking Site?So since Oprah has joined the ranks of Twitter, social networking has become more and more of a mainstream conversation. Many claim that social networking is a generational thing. Only today’s youth will really get sites like Facebook. Turns out, that might be the wrong way to look at it.

An article from one of the New York Times’ blogs points out that people have been involved in the Face Book fad since 1902. In reality, the idea of people getting together socially and then sharing tidbits of information and memory that they could take with them isn’t all that new. Bryan Benilous, the historical newspaper specialist who found this (along with a 1942 mention of Twitter and a 1903 mention of a pocket telephone) compared the old Face Book to the new version as “having friends write on your wall in a much less tech-savvy way.”

So what does this mean? As our friend Mark has said, shaping the behavior of an individual is hard, shaping the behavior of the mass is even more difficult. Maybe social networking hasn’t actually created a new craze but actually just given more people an opportunity to engage in a behavior that they’ve been doing all along. They can just do it in real time and across the great divides more easily. 

As a former history major it makes me wonder (again), is anything really new?

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