With the advent of social media  our introduction and immersion to microblogging platforms and their general length restrictions upon posts, the information we glean is necessarily fragmented. Darnton mentions that “we are bombarded by information, and it comes in tiny units—sound bites, flashbacks, snippets, tweets. It strikes our consciousness like pellets of rain on a windshield, so thick and fast that we cannot get a clear view of the surrounding landscape.”

But this isn’t a new phenomenon. Snippets of information may now be digitised, however the fragmented aspect is nothing new. Darnton informs us of this similarity to the past by pointing to Pietro Aretino and the pasquinades (sonnets) the man utilised with great success to ridicule cardinals that hoped to be named pope in the 16th century.

Even as you read this webpage, you are taking in fragments of information. Each new page contains a new fragment that make up the website–which is itself a fragmentary piece of the vastness of Victorian Lake Guides, and so on.

  • Robert Darnton, “Blogging, Now and Then (250 Years Ago)” European Romantic Review Special Issue: NASSR 2012: Romantic Prospects 24.3 (2013): 255-270

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