A New Account of Personalization and Effective Communication
To contribute to understanding of information economies of daily life, this paper explores over the past millennium given names of a large number of persons. Analysts have long both condemned and praised mass media as a source of common culture, national unity, or shared symbolic experiences. Names, however, indicate a large decline in shared symbolic experience over the past two centuries, a decline that the growth of mass media does not appear to have affected significantly. Study of names also shows that action and personal relationships, along with time horizon, are central aspects of effective communication across a large population. The observed preference for personalization over the past two centuries and the importance of action and personal relationships to effective communication are aspects of information economies that are likely to have continuing significance for industry developments, economic statistics, and public policy.
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