Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Could you imagine living life without a cell phone? What about not having television news outlets to rely on or social media to connect with friends and family? All of these are fundamental parts of the way we socialize with each other and share news today. 

This picture is quite different than the one of socialization and news sharing in the 18th century. Newspapers were emerging as the go-to news source, and outdoor sports and art were the centers of socialization. 


Let's look at socialization in the 18th century and how it differs from what we're doing now in more detail below. 

How People Socialized and Shared News in the 18th Century 

Many people can't wrap their minds around life before cell phones, the internet, and digital media. But this is exactly how people in the 18th century were living. Letters, newspapers, and face-to-face conversations were the sum of news sharing. And a short list of social activities was the foundation of socialization. 


Letters, newspapers, and face-to-face conversations 

Before printed books and newspapers, letter-writing was the go-to method for sending and receiving messages in the 18th century. The U.S. Postal Service was improving during this time thanks to Benjamin Franklin. However, it would still take weeks, sometimes months before people would receive letters. 


Newspapers were the next reliable communication and news source. They exploded on the scene thanks to the rapid growth of the printing press. But pamphlets eventually took the place of newspapers as a more accessible, cost-effective way to deliver news to a large audience. 


If people weren’t relying on the above-written communication methods, they were leaning on face-to-face conversations. Often, letters wouldn’t make it to their recipients. So, the best way to get a message to someone and ensure its accuracy was through face-to-face communication. 


A small socialization circuit 

Unlike today, there was a small list of social activities to choose from in the 18th century.


Outdoor sports were popular. Hunting in the fall, swimming and water sports in the summer, and ice skating in the winter were common. Horse races date back to 1709 and cricket increased in popularity in the middle of the 18th century. 


If they weren’t indulging in outdoor sports, people were fond of art and theater. Plays of all kinds were put on regularly to entertain audiences of all ages. Art shows displaying wax figures, sculptures, and paintings were popular. So were public fairs with a range of activities including eating competitions, animal fights, and gambling. 


Finally, although women were allowed in some coffeehouses, salons, and debating societies, these were typically gathering places for affluent men. Intellectual conversations, dinner, and entertainment were the typical socialization scene in these places.  


How We’re Socializing and Sharing News Today

The way we socialize and share news today isn't nearly as limited as it was in the 18th century. We’ve unlocked the digital world, enhancing the way we share and consume news. In addition, we socialize online through social media to stay connected.


We’re heavily immersed in the digital world 

Statista revealed that “As of January 2023, there were 5.16 billion internet users worldwide, which is 64.4 percent of the global population. Of this total, 4.76 billion, or 59.4 percent of the world's population, were social media users.” 


Not everyone has established themselves in the digital world, but well over half of the people on this planet have embraced being online and making digital communication and media a part of their day-to-day. 


Search engines are our best friends when it comes to research and discovery. We can’t get away from online news outlets, websites, blogs, and digital publications. More importantly, social media has become a channel for socialization, news, and everything in between. 


As mentioned above, almost 60% of the global population are social media users. The top social media sites include: 


  • Instagram

  • YouTube

  • Facebook

  • Twitter

  • TikTok

  • Pinterest

  • Snapchat

  • LinkedIn


Each platform is known for different things. For example, Instagram and Pinterest are known for being heavily visual while Twitter and LinkedIn rely a lot on the written word. Youtube is a video content platform and Tik Tok is the latest on the scene pushing short-form video content. 


Each platform has a purpose unique to the person using it. But news is always circulating because of big-name news outlets, individual journalists, and intimate conversations carried out on social media. 


These platforms are also huge for socializing. For example, you can easily hop on a live stream and interact with your favorite influencer. You can share any and everything with close friends in a private messaging group. You can attend virtual events. You can shop. You can meet people across the world and start lasting friendships. 


The digital world, particularly social media, has opened up the way we socialize and share news today and will continue to do so in the future. 


We Protect Information Differently Now Too 

Whether through socializing or news sharing, there was and is a lot of important information going around. A lot of messages and data are meant for specific eyes and ears. So, protecting it was and is critical. 


In the 18th century, protecting letters and written communications was a matter of letter locking, sealing them with a special adhesive, making specific notations on the envelope or cover, and using the right carrier to deliver the letter. 


Today we use passwords to protect our information and accounts, whether messages, emails, or social media. We change our passwords regularly and never reuse them. We check for compromised passwords and refrain from sharing personal information too. 


This is just the beginning of the list of ways protecting our information, socialization, and news sharing differs now vs. the 18th century. We’ve evolved in each aspect and can only expect the evolution to continue with each new century. 


Author bio: Miles is an independent writer with a background in business and a passion for psychology, news, and history. He has lived and traveled all over the United States and continues to expand his awareness and experiences. When he is not writing, he is most likely mountain biking or kicking back with a cup of tea.