Paul Starr’s The Creation of the Media: Political Origins of Modern Communications has been sitting unread on my bookcase for far too long. I’ve only just begun reading it, and, in spite of the rather plodding pace, I’m finding it immensely interesting.
I may write more about the book another time, but for now—though the book has made no mention of this particular sphere—it has me reflecting on the notion of social media. I am a light user of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites, and I recently had a conversation with friends over Chinese food about this newfangled idea that anyone cares what I’m doing right now or with whom.
Only later when I had on my more academic thinking cap, did it occur to me that I know very well that social media is by no means new.
A Google search on the history of social media will likely tell you that the phenomenon is at least 30 years old. Beth Hayden and Rafal Tomal trace is origins to the first email, sent by researchers at the Advanced Research Projects Agency in 1971, followed in 1980 by Usenet, which allowed people to post messages to online news feeds. The ...more...
In May of 2007, I took a quick flight to Ohio to investigate several cemeteries in which I believed I’d find some Woodruff, Sager, and other assorted family graves. My first order of business was to locate Seceder Cemetery, a site my living family was unaware of, in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. Once a bustling small city of its own, Reynoldsburg is now a strip-mall-infested suburb of Columbus.
After much circling, turning around, and near-resignation, I spotted what appeared to be headstones between the slats of a tall privacy fence along the back parking lot of one of the aforementioned strip malls.
Behind the privacy fence, the cemetery occupies a small hill surrounded by a chain-link fence, apartment buildings to the north and west, golf course to the south. The gate has a large padlock, but, since it was Memorial Day weekend, someone from the city had thought to leave it unlocked for potential visitors.
I found what I was looking for in the northwest corner, backed up to the fence.
My great-great-great-great grandfather Wiard Woodruff was born in 1764 in Litchfield, Connecticut. He moved with his father and probably other family members ...more...