Social Media Intelligence is all the rage, and of course the modern world is astounded at the ability of spectators to film incidents as they occur, and post them on YouTube or elsewhere for all to see. IMSL are doing some interesting work in examining the “lives” of videos posted on YouTube and other social media, giving new insights on how they spread to an audience, and a whole heap of other data that can be derived from the videos or the meta-data associated with them and their distribution.
It’s easy to be dazzled by the immediacy of this material. But sometimes we forget that in history there were parallels to this. Whereas today we can view such videos, remarkably, from devices in our pockets, in past eras there were other “social media”. What could be more social than watching a “Pathe” news reel with hundreds of others in a weekly visit to the cinema? The timing may not meet today’s standards, but by golly the footage could be extraordinarily influential, shocking, and capable of complex messaging and propaganda to a huge audience. Some of that footage was quite remarkable, as this clip shows: