Dead Media

Shel Holtz was in town yesterday to talk about blogging and social media and one of the things he had to say was “social media is changing everything” the other thing he had to say was something along the lines of “[don't worry] new media never completely kills old media”. Of course to say that old media forms never get killed is a pretty strong statement. Historically, there must be tons of dead media. Help me make a list!

Dead Media!

  • sheet music
  • poetry
  • the fax machine
  • 8 tracks
  • town criers
  • overhead projectors
  • letter writing
  • floppy disks
  • mixed tapes
  • papyrus
  • illustrated manuscripts
  • dotmatrix printers
  • VHS (and Beta)
  • Oral history
  • Latin
  • Morse code (and telegrams)
  • Typewriters
  • Clay Tablets
  • Disco Music
  • Hieroglyphics
  • The Oracle of Delphi
  • Nailing people to crosses (ouch)
  • The Spanish Inquisition
  • Wood block prints
  • Handbills
  • Parchment
  • MS DOS
  • What else can you think of?

BONUS: For your enjoyment, 15 years of songs about Dead Radio:


“we ask for too much I guess, cause all we get is dead disco, dead funk, dead rock ‘n roll…”

“hang the dj, hang the blessed dj, for the music that they constantly play, says nothing to me about my life…”

.

  • http://www.singer.to/ Eli Singer

    smoke signals
    pony express
    carrier pidgeon
    cablegram
    radiogram
    candygram
    how’s that?

  • http://www.singer.to Eli Singer

    smoke signals
    pony express
    carrier pidgeon
    cablegram
    radiogram
    candygram

    how’s that?

  • http://www.aimscanada.com Kathryn Lagden

    Hi Tom – nice meeting you at the dinner with Shel the other night. Believe it or not I just had to pull out my fax machine that was buried deep in a box in the back of a storage room. Seems the Canadian government won’t talk to me over email…argh…

  • Jyo

    If poetry is dead then so are we all…

  • Jyo

    If poetry is dead then so are we all…

  • http://fathawar.spaces.live.com/ Farhan Thawar

    The fax machine and letter writing are definitely not dead. When I think of MS DOS, I still think of the cmd.exe, so maybe MS DOS is dead, but the windows command line isn’t. Is the etch-a-sketch dead?

    Don’t get me started on disco music :)

  • http://fathawar.spaces.live.com Farhan Thawar

    The fax machine and letter writing are definitely not dead. When I think of MS DOS, I still think of the cmd.exe, so maybe MS DOS is dead, but the windows command line isn’t. Is the etch-a-sketch dead?

    Don’t get me started on disco music :)

  • http://blog.holtz.com/ Shel Holtz

    Most of what you list aren’t media, Thomas, but channels for media. Typewriters have been replaced by computers but output the same thing. Papyrus, handbills, wood block prints, parchment and clay tablets are all forms of print, and the fact that we use offset presses today doesn’t mean print is dead. 8-tracks are tapes and cassettes are still used — not nearly as much, but remember that I DID say that old media often SHRINK in the face of new media, but don’t vanish. Latin is a language, and while only doctors and language students speak Latin, language still thrives (despite rampant abuse). Floppy disks have given way to memory sticks, but it’s still digital storage. In other words, evolution of media that leaads older forms to give way to newer ones doesn’t mean the fundamental medium is dead.

  • http://blog.holtz.com Shel Holtz

    Most of what you list aren’t media, Thomas, but channels for media. Typewriters have been replaced by computers but output the same thing. Papyrus, handbills, wood block prints, parchment and clay tablets are all forms of print, and the fact that we use offset presses today doesn’t mean print is dead. 8-tracks are tapes and cassettes are still used — not nearly as much, but remember that I DID say that old media often SHRINK in the face of new media, but don’t vanish. Latin is a language, and while only doctors and language students speak Latin, language still thrives (despite rampant abuse). Floppy disks have given way to memory sticks, but it’s still digital storage. In other words, evolution of media that leaads older forms to give way to newer ones doesn’t mean the fundamental medium is dead.

  • http://thomaspurves.com/ Administrator

    Thanks for stopping by Shel! Yes what you argue in your comment may, well, be technically correct, but sort of diminishes the fun of A) reminiscing about old things once popular and now obscure B) having fun by cheekily abusing definitions of the words “Dead” and “Media” (common, Disco music, didn’t you think that was funny?)

    I offer you this:

    - Vaudville
    - Carrier Pigeons
    - Pneumatic tubes
    - Branding (as in criminals)
    - Panoramas
    - Tap Dancing
    - Gramaphones (but Vinyl is making a comeback)
    - Church bells
    - Yodeling

    And I think channels are important too as they often inseparably (often by their special limitations) flavour the character of media such as the tone, contexts of usage, social role of the media and affecting the message itself. Communication is different now that we can give people documents larger than 1.44 MB. The same goes for cuneiform script, when not printing on clay we more expressive in our print…

  • http://thomaspurves.com Administrator

    Thanks for stopping by Shel! Yes what you argue in your comment may, well, be technically correct, but sort of diminishes the fun of A) reminiscing about old things once popular and now obscure B) having fun by cheekily abusing definitions of the words “Dead” and “Media” (common, Disco music, didn’t you think that was funny?)

    I offer you this:

    - Vaudville
    - Carrier Pigeons
    - Pneumatic tubes
    - Branding (as in criminals)
    - Panoramas
    - Tap Dancing
    - Gramaphones (but Vinyl is making a comeback)
    - Church bells
    - Yodeling

    And I think channels are important too as they often inseparably (often by their special limitations) flavour the character of media such as the tone, contexts of usage, social role of the media and affecting the message itself. Communication is different now that we can give people documents larger than 1.44 MB. The same goes for cuneiform script, when not printing on clay we more expressive in our print…

  • michael.

    Tom,

    i’m going to have to call billsh!t on a couple of things in your last as well. Pneumatic tubes are completely not dead. have you been to home depot lately? they use them in every store for doing cash drops.

    also, i think tap, church bells and yodelling are still far more “alive” than you might think.

  • michael.

    Tom,

    i’m going to have to call billsh!t on a couple of things in your last as well. Pneumatic tubes are completely not dead. have you been to home depot lately? they use them in every store for doing cash drops.

    also, i think tap, church bells and yodelling are still far more “alive” than you might think.

  • http://www.thechickentest.com/ Brycej

    nice list.

    It is interesting though to think about the differences between “media” and “media transport mechanisms”. I mean I’ve bought Back in Black on vinyl, CD, DVD and have it on MP3 and WMA.

    So AC/DC has made a lot of money from me.

    Bryce

  • http://www.thechickentest.com Brycej

    nice list.

    It is interesting though to think about the differences between “media” and “media transport mechanisms”. I mean I’ve bought Back in Black on vinyl, CD, DVD and have it on MP3 and WMA.

    So AC/DC has made a lot of money from me.

    Bryce

  • http://www.toweringflat.com/ Francesca

    I disagree! Poetry is not dead. It has been revived on my blog :)

  • http://www.toweringflat.com Francesca

    I disagree! Poetry is not dead. It has been revived on my blog :)

  • http://thomaspurves.com/ Administrator

    Alas!
    Dear Francesca,
    I fear you are
    but a glittering star
    in an ever-more-rarefied
    and all-too-lonely firmament…

  • http://thomaspurves.com Administrator

    Alas!
    Dear Francesca,
    I fear you are
    but a glittering star
    in an ever-more-rarefied
    and all-too-lonely firmament…

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  • http://www.aimscanada.com/ Kathryn Lagden

    Hi Tom – nice meeting you at the dinner with Shel the other night. Believe it or not I just had to pull out my fax machine that was buried deep in a box in the back of a storage room. Seems the Canadian government won't talk to me over email…argh…

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