What do Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have in common with coffeehouses, broadsides and the Sears, Roebuck & Co. mail-order catalogue? They are all types of social networking.
Using examples from hundreds of years of American history, DiPiazza shows readers that long before the Internet or even electricity, there was plenty of social networking going on. The author defines social networks as "groups of people connected by common interests and needs." With that broad definition, she proceeds to explain how ring shouts organized by slaves, calling cards, telegrams, radio and telephones are all examples of social media. Clear text explains the essential role social networking plays in such things as cooperative ventures, the structure of communities, the exchange of ideas and knowledge and the organization of political protests. The book also notes that along with the great strides advanced technologies have brought to social networking, there are also dark sides, such as bullying, fraud and cyber-stalking. Short chapters liberally illustrated with photographs and other archival material take readers chronologically from pre-Columbian North America to today.
What this book does best is place current modes of social media and their impact in a historical context and encourage readers to think about social networking in a whole new way. (bibliography, further reading, index, primary source quotations, source notes, websites) (Nonfiction. 10-18)