A Short History of Storytelling

the oldest form of communication


Beginning

Cave drawings depicting animals, the environment, and ourselves, clearly storytelling props, are 35,000-40,000 years old

For thousands of years, human beings have sought to communicate with each other.

Even in our earliest days, we would gather around primitive firesides to cook our food and tell each other’s stories.

By the light of these early fires we created our first paintings: Magnificent scenes of animals, landscapes and of course, ourselves.

From these first drawings, writing was born.


MASS PROGRESS

The printing press was invented in the  Holy Roman Empire by  Johannes Gutenberg around 1440

 

Samuel Morse  developed and patented a recording electric telegraph in 1837. The first telegram in the United States was sent by Morse on 11 January 1838, across two miles  of wire in New Jersey

As the millennia marched on, our world and our stories became more complex, but the need to tell them stayed as strong as ever.

In ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, great civilizations rose and fell bound together with common language and the written word.

During the Renaissance Period in Europe, the written word was given even more voice by the invention of the printing press.

Through this marvelous innovation, one voice was suddenly able to rise above the rest, and be read by thousands of people at the same time.

The power and reach of ideas was flourishing


During this time, we started to bridge the vast distance between the people of the world with trading vessels crossing the seas and sharing fantastic tales of foreign lands, exotic goods and new innovations.

The unstoppable movement toward a more connected world continued in the 19th Century with the invention of the telegraph, which allowed people to communicate instantly over hundreds or even thousands of miles.

Later the telegraph gave birth to the telephone and the radio stitched all the world together under one global broadcast medium.

It was the radio and later the television that brought the world into our living rooms, for there we would sit together and marvel at the instantaneous transmission of the wonder, and sometimes horror, that is our world.


Stories NOW

The internet is all of the computers connecting seamlessly, with no central authority, sharing information exponentially faster than ever before

Today we live in a world of unprecedented access to information. 

Through the internet, the ubiquity of mobile computing, and the growing power of social networks, we humans are more closely linked than ever before.

In so many ways, this moment in our history is not unlike those that came before.

Here we are now, all gathered around the virtual fire, connecting with each other, and telling each other’s stories.

This is the story now.

 

This story was first an animated video created to kick-off a conference we produced called AMP Summit.