Here’s How Twitter and Vine are the New Telegram 3.0
By Beverly Macy
India’s state-run telegram service is about to send out its last telegram this week, as headlines read “India to end state-run telegram service. Stop.”
Today, we are composing and transmitting thousands of “messages destined for far off places,” billions of times a day. Similar to the invention of the telegraph, Twitter, Vine, Weibo, Mixi and other platforms around the globe are the evolution of Samuel Morse’s creation approximately 160 years ago. The instructions on the telegram form said, “Message goes here. Be brief.” Twitter makes you say it in 140 characters—Vine in six seconds.
Back when telegrams started, if simple poetic brevity was not good enough, people resorted to the use of code to make their telegrams as short as possible. Sounds a lot like OMG, LOL, B4, C U L8TR.
Back in 1998, Tom Standage wrote a book called The Victorian Internet, which explored the historical development of the telegraph and the social ramifications associated with the development of this technology.
He said that the development of the telegraph essentially mirrored the development of the Internet. Both technologies can be seen to have largely impacted the speed and transmission of information. The process is being repeated with real-time platforms.
Today companies, citizens, consumers, fans, and users have sprung to life and become disruptive by gathering and communicating with each other in seconds over millions of miles. We’re connected in real-time. And connected people innovate, create and invent faster—even in 6 seconds and 140 characters.
The last telegram is not the end, but simply another beginning.
Beverly Macy is the co-author of The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing. She also teaches Executive Global Marketing and Branding and Social Media Marketing for the UCLA Extension. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.