Birds on a Wire: Twitter and the Telegram

1) What historical, geographical, economic and social threads connect the telegram to the tweet? Did Twitter change communication, or just remind us it’s all been done before?

2) Twitter has been praised as a revolution in communication, but technologists and pundits — certainly the media being so taken by Twitter accounts for much of its success — are often short-sighted, forgetting that Twitter isn’t the first major revolution in text-based messaging. Before text messages, before email, there was the telegram — a hand delivered personal message of around 150 characters. The telegraphic system, which produced the telegram, brought about significant changes to the politics, business and communication methods of the mid 1800s. By looking at the history of the telegram, can we learn about the future of Twitter?

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