Recently, modern communication was described to me as a nervous system. In the same way a nervous system can carry a message from one body part to another, modern communication is capable of transmitting information across vast geographical distances, between two people, almost instantaneously.
Previously it would take a multitude of time and resources to send a ‘message’ across the world but following the invention of telegraph lines the same message can be transmitted almost immediately. Suddenly, the world didn’t feel so small.
The Information Age
These developments in technology were completely unforeseen, especially, the concept of transferring information from a source, digitally, to a receiver. This gave way to what’s considered the beginning of ‘The Information Age’. I like to imagine the development of these information technologies from the crude wired processes to a modern efficient network so closely intertwined with the world as an evolution from a wooden puppet controlled one to one with strings to a living breathing creature where all is connected by a nervous system of information highways and global trade.
Morse Code Vs Twitter
Something that struck me as interesting was comparing aspects of Morse code transmission and today’s twitter. The cost of transmitting a Morse code message forced people to keep their messages to a minimum, twitter has a self imposed 140 character limit which was inspired by the character limit of text messaging which was due to cost and technology limitations of early mobile phones. Morse code machines allowed weather to aggregate information to broadcast but twitter aggregates the information from users to users, cutting out the weather forecasters. Morse code was an emergency or special occasion use only but twitter is designed to be used anywhere, any-time, by anyone.
Information networking certainly has come a long way.