But words are things, and a small drop of ink, Falling, like dew, upon a thought produces That which makes thousands, perhaps millions think.
– Lord Byron
There was a day in which information was passed largely through oral communications. Word-of-mouth predominated. A teacher’s disciples sat around him as he taught. Gutenberg’s invention changed this significantly, opening the way for written media like books, pamphlets, and newspapers to move significant amounts of information to large numbers of persons who might never have heard the speaker or even lived in the same place or time. Consider that we probably have greater access to works of Plato, Cicero, and other ancient writers than did their contemporaries.