Renaissance social networking?

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According to new research, society's social networking obsession may not be exclusive to the 21st century.

Now, researchers believe the concept can be traced back to the 16th and 17th centuries as part of the Italian Academies, where scholars created nicknames for themselves, developed emblems and mottos to form groups for information exchange.

Renaissance specialists first came across the network while cataloging and researching for the project, "The Italian Academies 1525–1700: The first intellectual networks of early modern Europe' -- a joint four year research project between the British Library, Royal Holloway, University of London, and Reading University....

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