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Facebook nothing new to 16th century scholars

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It wasn’t so much that Mark Zuckerberg invented the idea of sharing so much as capitalized on it at the perfect time, because it turns out young scholars in 16th century Italy created their own version of Facebook long before the Internet (and electricity) were there to help.

A collaborative investigation between Royal Holloway, the British Library and Reading University into life at Italian academies between 1525 and 1700 revealed a wealth of information about these early social networks.

Professor Jane Everson, Principal-investigator, said: “Just as we create user names for our profiles on Facebook and Twitter and create circles of friends on Google plus, these scholars created nicknames, shared — and commented on — topical ideas, the news of the day, and exchanged poems, plays and music.

“It may have taken a little longer for this to be shared without the internet, but through the creation of yearbooks and volumes of letters and speeches, they shared the information of the day.”

No word yet on whether they found sketches of what they’d eaten for lunch, but we’re sure they’re there somewhere.

Full story at Science Daily.

Gems of anthropology.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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