I ran across this today:
For most of history, in fact, media was social. The emergence of centralized mass media such as newspapers, radio and television is a very recent phenomenon, and is arguably an historical anomaly. Today we like to draw a distinction between “new” media based on digital technologies and the “old” media that came before it. But the centralized, impersonal distribution systems of old media only emerged in the mid-1800s, and the situation before then — what could be termed the era of “really old media” — has many similarities with today’s media environment. In many respects, the emergence of Internet-based social media in recent years is therefore a return to the way things used to be.
Learn more about social media in the pre-modern world here.