To the best of my knowledge smoke signals were used to carry messages over long distances that wouldn't have been easily been traveled. This was probably one of the first uses of long distance communication.
Next was the runner. Runners were sent over long distances to deliver messages and then return with answers. Information was moving along.
As time went on and horses were domesticated and a person could travel a long distance. Boats were used to travel the oceans and lakes of the world. People were expanding the area and people that they could communicate with. The information was getting a varied look as new ideas and cultures mixed.
Much time passed and we skip ahead to the telegraph that allowed for communication to spread quickly across even oceans. Quickly is the key here. This was followed by the wonderful invention of the telephone and now was coming onto the individual's use. People could instantly or almost instantly communicate with others that were a great distance away.
Now we'll skip along quickly. Next radio and television comes on the scene bringing entertainment and a new audience of people.
Then comes a major or a series of major innovations- cells phones, the internet, personal computers, smart phones and now the world has become very small and instantly connected.
In every step of the way the message has been to expand one's ability to communicate with others in better and faster ways. The ability to spread messages over great distances and almost instantly.
Now enter Social Media.
Isn't it really just the same old thing that's been around for thousands of years but with a new name?