The History Of Applause

March 24, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

Megan Garber took a look at the history of applause:

  • Applause appears to go back centuries and seems to unite us across cultures.
  • Applause really came to the fore during the Roman Empire when leaders used applause as a gauge to measure the audience’s reaction to their speeches…and those of their opponents.
  • In the Empire competing politicians would also hire individuals to applaud their own speeches, and heckle those of their opponents.
  • When Joseph Stalin entered conferences in Soviet Russia audience members who didn’t clap for long enough would be arrested.
  • In the modern era applause has lost a lot of its nuances. It only happens at certain times, and audience members either give all or nothing. It is no longer a dialogue with the audience, but, instead, a brute transaction that is expected rather than rewarded.

Read more about the rise of automated laugh tracks, how Facebook is changing the nature of applause, and more over here.

Source: The Atlantic