If the truth hurts, silence kills,
South African saying.

Speaking out in public has developed in stages. At first, it was traditional (printed or broadcast on radio and other electronic means). In less than fifty years, we have transitioned from an era in which the individual was anonymous and passive into an era where citizens publicly expresses feelings and opinions on and through social networks.

Landmarks (speech)
In general, these were apostles of non-violence and civil disobedience :

1849 Speech « Civil Disobedience » Henry David Thoreau.
1930 Gandhi‘s salt march.
1959 Flight of the Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso.
1963 I Have a Dream speech by Martin Luther King.
1974 Spring Portuguese carnations.
1980 The Polish Solidarity movement.
1989 The fall of the Berlin Wall.
2001 The books of Noam Chomsky.
2010 Pamphlet outrage of Stephane Hessel.

The first electronic speech-making tools

1969 Compuserve
1971 First email
1978 BBS
1985 The Well
1991 WWW
1993 Mosaic
1997 Hotmail
1999 Napster
2001 Wikipedia

The first classic generation (from 1870)

The first generation of modern speech made arose during the second industrial revolution : workers spoke through their unions. The focus of this era of « speaking out » mainly concerned working conditions. The first public speaking engagements began to appear in the first radio interviews around 1930.

The second conventional generation (from 1968)

Speaking out in public became a critical issue the during major social upheavals of the years 1968-1970. American sociologists discovered what they called the « field », followed by the concepts of street corner society, the vicinity of Small is Beautiful and theorists of animation : Amitai Etzioni, Saul Alinsky and Jerry Rubin. The voice of the public became noticeable in France during the protests of 1968; in Québec, during the October 70 crisis.

The first electronic generation (from 1980)

The first devices intended to mediate public discourse involving personal content were the Apple II, TRS-80 and Commodore PET. The public voice was then shaped by the pioneers of personal computing,. Evangelists gathered together in the first digital computer clubs (1982). The objective was : empowerment of the people. The first electronic speech-making tools were email, forums and bulletin boards.

« Empowerment of the people » was related to the wave of radicalization of the flower-power and beatniks movements. Ten years later, a second wave of radicalization created additional groups of people who decided to speak out : environmentalists, Native Americans, feminists and gays.

Second-generation electronics (from 2000)

The second generation of electronic communications capabilities emerged at Apple when Steve Jobs had the intuition to integrate several electronic devices into the home computer. Everything was built around a Digital Hub, or the personal digital home. Jobs created an interface using FireWire (high-speed port installed on the Mac), which made possible the integration of iMovie (camcorder), iDVD (music and video recorder), iPhoto, iTunes (music library), the iTunes store (electronic magazine) and GarageBand (music mixer).

Then came the arrival of the Web (1995). Collaboration become easier and more widespread, supported by the proliferation of websites

A new radicalization appeared with the formation of large coalitions sensitive to global justice aiming to replace the capitalist model of globalization from the bottom up. In 2006, TIME magazine recognized the importance of this force – media participation of users of electronic media – by appointing users as Person of the Year : You.

Third-generation electronics (from 2002)

The devices of this generation – Apple iPod and iPod mini – marked a turning point in the history of the disk and electronic commerce (in 2003, already more than 70 million songs had been sold in networks).

These devices have been created thanks to the miniaturization of a player the size of a dollar coin and a capacity of 5 billion bytes, installed in portable housings with menu manipulation using a touch-wheel.


George Varvel, The Indianapolis Star, 2007.

Excuse me, I am a photographer of the news

Hey !
Us too ..

The fourth generation of electronics (from 2007)

The devices of the 4th generation are smart phones and tablets (iPad, 2009), with glass display, cameras and an A4 circuit (labelled as all-in-one). They offer the user (and surveillance services) the capabilities of geolocation.

Thanks to Steve Jobs, everything changed again. Cameras became easier to use thanks to multi-touch interfaces (no keyboard, no pen and inertial scrolling images move as if they were objects).

At the same time, an even stronger new wave of radicalization appeared : the anti-Wall Street Occupy Movement, the Arab Spring, etc. Indignant young people have begun showing up and speaking out, increasingly joined by their elders. The champions of this wave are Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn (RIP), Chris Hedges, Matt Taibbi, etc.