Social Media as the New Printing Press

The battle going on now with the so-called “tech giants”, who are really internet content controllers, is because we as individuals have not learned how to use these new tools intelligently. The same thing happened beginning in the 1450s, when the invention of the printing press put the distribution and consumption of information in the hands of the common people.
One important parallel is that the printing press took control of the media out of the hands of the elite, and allowed anyone with access to a printing press to print any ideas they wanted, true or false, peaceful or revolutionary, Catholic or Protestant. The printed Bible was a powerful tool of the Protestant Reformation, allowing ordinary people to read and interpret the Bible themselves, breaking the power of the Catholic church elite. The printing press also allowed revolutionaries to challenge political leaders with new ideas of individual rights, freedoms, and justice. People had to learn to evaluate these new ideas and decide for themselves. As a result, printing lead to great upheavals in ideas and in power distribution.
And broadcast TV led to consolidation of control over information in the hands of 3 networks, which tended to propagate ideas and information supporting the establishment; the Internet broke that triopoly and allowed anyone to be their own TV station.

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