Too Fast For The Truth

“Superficial, sudden, unsifted, too fast for the truth, must be all telegraphic intelligence.”. These were the words used to describe the telegraph in 1858, but they could be easily used to describe Twitter and basically any social media of today. When the New York Times wrote that the telegraph was too fast for the truth they had a point, it’s unregulated information, stripped of the ability to gain further context to words as the technology was incredibly expensive and short messages were the norm.


Some technologies are ultimately slain by their short comings (MySpace, Print Media), while others find ways to further evolve and meet the demands of the people. An interesting parable in this respect is that of Twitter vs. 24 hour news media services. Fox News in America lives off spinning small events into larger news stories and filling air time with fodder, while Twitter is the same basic idea, 24 hour news, but does so as an aggregate of many peoples tweets creating hash tags. The reason why it’s so much more effective is because of its spider web shaped network. Fox News’ network is centralized and ultimately superficial, sudden, unsifted and too fast (or slow in some cases) for the truth. The global nervous system that is Twitter has wonderful worldwide connectivity implications while the sluggish and financially parasitic nature of  24 hour news media deserves criticism and opposition.

The telegraph was criticized because of networking and technological limitations but is ultimately the starting point for modern telecommunication and the amazing mass connectivity capabilities we have today. The global nervous system of modern day wasn’t designed and made in day and the telegraph was simply the first nerve. Modern communication involved years of evolution and hard work.


3 thoughts on “Too Fast For The Truth

  1. Hey, that was a great read. The telegraph system is a great correlation to how connected we are today on a global scale. The decline of old and uprising of new media services is a testament to our constant evolving social trends. Your debate on Twitter vs. 24 Hour News is an interesting one. For someone of my age, it’s hard to understand why a 24 hour news program even exists. I agree that Twitter and social media is the direction we should be heading to help connect our world and give each and every one of us a voice.

  2. Hey Sam, good work. I don’t think society has (and probably never will again) be prepared for how quickly information can be shared and distributed. I enjoyed your comparative analysis of todays social media in contrast with the telegram, you did well to highlight the similarities and differences between the two. Another point to add for Twitter and 24 Hour News, is the idea of control, as the News broadcast would be content filtered, and Twitter is completely raw content. All in all, nice work!

  3. Cool post man, I liked how you mentioned the notion of unregulated information – especially as far back as the telegraph – is something I haven’t noticed enough people consider in paying their respects to the glorious alter of the internet. The more freedom people have to say what they want the less they think about what they have to say, and to the uneducated that can be dangerous when 24 hour world news channels and personal live tweets are side by side in accessibility and apparent validity. Nicely done.

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