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Design to Thrive by Tharon Howard

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Looking backward to look ahead

So what do the communication technologies of the past tell us about the social media of the future? Why are Hiltz and Turoff looking at the cost of computer-mediated communication compared to the telephone? After all, isn't that a tactical issue rather than strategic? It turns out that it's not. History teaches us that when you reduce the cost of sharing information, you can have profound effects on a society's literacy rates and on who is allowed to control what kinds of information can be distributed in a social system. Let's briefly consider what happened when Gutenburg's printing press reduced the cost of publishing books and then consider what lessons this has for social networks.

Reducing the cost of media ...

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