Networking is not a new concept, but has been practised for hundreds of years. But historians did not recognise it. It was networking by great leaders, saints or gurus within a select group of people who otherwise were called “followers”, to spread ideas and messages.
These are excerpts from an article from my fellow blog follower “Wolfe Review“:
I listened to a talk by Niall Ferguson on Intelligence Squared about his new book. In his new book, he intends to discuss hidden, or as yet uncovered networks throughout history. There were a few rather interesting take-away points I wish to mention here.
- Firstly, he believes that social networks are an important way of understanding how ideas have travelled and grown through culture and history. However, these networks have never been properly covered by historians and other cultural writers. This has left speculation in the hands of conspiracy theorists and non-academics, who have taken historical facts and distorted them or misrepresented them to the point that spurious and specious conclusions have been reached.
- There have been two major revolutions in networking.
- The first is the birth of the printing press, which he places in the hands of Martin Luther. This is because of Luther’s insistence of the manufacturing of the Christian Bible into English so that all lay practitioners of Christianity can read it. The importance of this is that it was the first time an idea had been so widely spread, and spread it did. On one hand it promoted an independence of belief, but also promoted it through an objective text, so that everyone was ‘reading from the same page’. This opened the world to the possibility of spreading ideas further than ever before. Books could be manufactured on larger scale, newspapers and pamphlets could be distributed; in essence, any idea could now be objectively disseminated and used as a point of connectivity.
- Secondly came the revolution in computers, and with it, the birth of the internet (from the 1970s onwards). The wonderful thing about the computer revolution was how it rapidly increased the mass and pace in production of books, magazines and newspapers. As the internet followed, networking began to move to a global scale as people became connected from town to town, city to city, country to country. Communication became far more immediate, and ideas could spread as if people were in the same room.