Social Media is Nothing New – 2 Ancient Civilization Examples

I’m a social media advocate, in part because it demands greater leadership. That said, there’s really nothing new about social media itself. Here are 2 examples of social media from history, going all the way back to prehistoric man.

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30,000 Year Old Chauvet Cave Drawings - an early example of Pinterest
30,000 Year Old Chauvet Cave Drawings

Cave Drawings

What you see here is one of the earliest documented forms of media. These cave drawings are from the Chauvet cave in Southern France, dating back more than 30,000 years.

Evidence from the cave suggests not only that there was community in the cave, but also that the paintings evolved, being edited, updated or modified several times over thousands of years. If you pull this all together – images, modified over time, surrounded by a community with interests in that media, you have the earliest version of Pinterest.

On a more serious note though, this does point out that humankind, shortly after discovering the benefits of an opposable thumb, began sharing media in a community. We should not be surprised Pinterest is such a hit – but shocked that it took us so long to come out with it.

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Book of the Dead Example on Papyrus
Book of the Dead – an early “Retweet”

Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs

Ancient Egyptians customized versions of books for people at their death. The Book of the Dead or “Book of Going Forth by Day” contained texts such as spells, homages & speeches that deceased relatives may find useful in the afterlife. Pictured here is one such example.

Consider this: text, modified and shared with friends and family is not unlike an ancient version of the Twitter “Retweet”. Again, on a more serious note, we do see that Ancient Egyptians already appreciated the value of building on previous content, adapting it for personal use and sharing it among the community.

What Has Changed

So social media, in and of itself, is not a new concept. What is new is the evolution of the technology, which enables your community to expand on a global scale. As a result, the power of greatest communication has shifted from a centralized point of control, to the masses. This is why leaders should be so passionate about social media: great leadership is no longer an ideology, but it is demanded from the masses.

Social media did not drive this shift in power. The technology evolution of social media principles did.

Question: What other ways has social media technology evolved to empower great leadership and / or the masses?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder and principal of Modern Servant Leader and Radiant Forest, LLC. He has studied and promoted servant leadership awareness and adoption for over 20 years. He is the author of 2 leadership books and has 2 decades of corporate management and leadership experience. His corporate experience spans CIO, VP, Director, and many management roles at Fortune 500, INC 500, and Nonprofits. Ben’s education includes a B.S. in Management Science & Information Systems from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University. Ben's Full Profile Here: About Ben Lichtenwalner

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