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Web 2.0 trendwatching? Take a look at The Ranters of the 1600s.

The number of publications was doubling, tripling, increasing exponentially. There were enormous impacts on politics, culture and society as a whole. New, geographically disparate communities were able to communicate, define themselves and their beliefs clearly and coordinate activist campaigns to change the world. The government fretted about censorship and control, and had their official voice drowned out by a cacophony of grass-roots publishers.

No. Not Web 2.0. Print culture in the 17th Century, as discussed on In Our Time, the BBC Radio 4 show hosted by Melvyn Bragg.

The comment from Scott Burns on this blog recently about trendwatchers "looking backward" came to mind last night when I was listening to a podcast of the show.

There were just so many parallels and comparisons to be drawn between then and now it made for a truly fascinating read. And while I don't agree with Scott's views about advertising, he's spot on in saying that we need to reflect upon the past. Taking some time to listen to historians discussing the big picture view of a previous media revolution is an excellent way to reflect on the wider implications of

I wish the programme makers had included some more links on the website to more information, biogs of the historians. A couple of Google / Amazon searches led me to these starting points from contributors to the programme:

 While I think of it, the academics on the programme would benefit from engaging in the current publishing revolution and putting up home pages / blogs about their work.

Subscribe to the podcast to download a copy of the programme or visit the programme's website here.

NB: If you're wondering who the ranters of the headline to this post were, take a look here. I am going to try to find an excuse to slip the word "Ranterism" into conversation today - lovely word.


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