Let’s go back a few hundred years in history where prior to the telegraph, communication in the 1830s was about the same as it had been in the years after the invention of the printing press. It took days, weeks, and even month months for messages to be sent from one location to another. After the telegraph cable was stretched from coast to coast in the 1850s, a message from London to New york could be sent in mere minutes, and the world suddenly became much smaller. This was a dramatic increase in the speed of communications; telegraph lines and cables would unite the world.
Before the telegraph, there was limited knowledge of national or international news. After the telegraph, the world changed. “It seemed as if information could flow like water” (EUSC, n.d.). Predictions about the impact of the new medium began to rise. “The telegraph would make the world smaller, erase national rivalries and contribute to the establishment of world peace”(EUSC, n.d.). All of the same statements were made in the 1990s by people who were wowed by the potential of the Internet.
Now here we are in the 2000s, with highly developed Internet and communication systems. To think, roughly 170 years ago it would have taken a message two weeks to reach its destination- I complain when a text message bounces back after 2 minutes. The telegraph prompted mass change in our connectivity and led to the advancement of technology that we are familiar with today.
Elon University School of Communications (EUSC). n.d. ‘Imaginging the Internet: A History and Forecast.’ Available from: http://www.elon.edu/e-web/predictions/150/1830.xhtml