Friday, July 02, 2010
The earliest successful form of electronic communication was the telegraph. It was a text only device, with Morse code eventually becoming the common method of encoding messages. Hearing the clicking of someone's cell phone keyboard today as he wrote a text message reminded me of the sound of a telegraph receiver clicking away. Although the method is different, in a way the rise of text messaging is a surprising throwback to that pioneering era. When most people imagined the future of personal communications devices they likely thought that the video phone would become popular, not typing short messages. Video phones do see quite a bit of use, but at nowhere near the level many would have thought. Although the transmission method is different text messages often resemble Morse code telegraph messages, where brevety and the use of abbreviations of various sorts were common. Then there's Twitter, which has gone from nowhere to ubiquitous in less than 4 years. I'm sure that Samuel Morse and the other pioneers of telegraphy would find this quite interesting.