The first means of communication touched only a small circle of people utilizing their bodies as their tool, these people conveyed their thoughts and emotions through their facial expressions and body movements. But as their thoughts became more complicated they found it difficult to express their feelings just through their bodies. They looked for another mode of communication and they found the word. Through nooks, newspapers and magazines the people now had the ability to share their knowledge with many more. The circle widened.

The people then sought to spread their words with more immediacy. They wanted to reach more people on a shorter amount of time. This brought about the invention of the telegraph and later the telephone.

The people could now touch a friend next door and a friend three thousand miles away in the same amount of time. And the circle widened again.

Today these people use their many tools of communication to create, animate and influence. They use them to educate, inform, and entertain. And the circle keeps widening.

Here at Milford, our circle can be compared to no other. The many tools we use to express ourselves carry us through our stay. Whether it be a morning announcement, a sign of relief at the end of a test or a wink to a passing friend in the halls we can easily relate our ideas and emotions. Through these pages we will examine these tools and capture the moments which make us special and our circle so vast and neverending.

A recent passage from the New York Times? Fast Company? Salon?


That is the introduction to my high school yearbook from 1981- the “tools” featured on the front piece is a kid in a pay phone booth.


Our school at the time had a well used ditto machine. It was the year BITNET came online, but it would be another two years until nameservers were created to associate machine addresses with named ones. A few months after graduation, IBM introduced the PC with MS/DOS 1.0 and Sony put out the first 3.5″ floppy discs. It was maybe about the time research got started at Apple on the Macintosh. MTV first went on the air… and they played music.

I think the circle is so wide open that you cannot even see the ones so prosaically written about. I never thought of the people who worked on the yearbook being so prophetic (and the writing is a bit syrupy), but then again, what was I doing then?

The present and past future was all around me, and I had zero idea. I was watching network TV and playing vinyl of 1970s rock music (one of those I still do).

Do not think I spend a lot of time looking through my old yearbooks, I need to scan some pages for an upcoming presentation.

But both the familiar wording of the idea of communication, and the quaintness of the times, made me smile. And not look back.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Alan,
    That is very cool! You immediately drove me online to look at the scanned pages of the 1968 “Wa-Wa” from Wenatchee High School. I see a page called “vocational classes.” These were for boys. I was of the era that didn’t allow girls to take Physics or Shop, and Home Ec was required (for that ever-desirable M. R. S. degree!).

    I was born too early for a childhood of Dungeons and Dragons, although I’m sure I would have loved it. I was born to a text-based world, and I have loved the process of changing my brain to be multi-modal (as I talked about in this digital story:

    Looking back has its uses, as you say, but mostly to celebrate where we are and where we are going.

  2. Hi Alan,

    Reading makes me think… well, you always do.

    Looking at the tools they used, it may sound like a limited circle then and much wider now.

    However, there are other circles. The stories we tell ourselves about the world we live in.

    I think this has to do with our identity construction. We are our own fiction of a circle around us, ever expanding, ever expressing.



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