“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.