Tapidi, Tap, Tap.

Developed in the 1830s and 1840s by Samuel Morse alongside various other inventors, the telegraph revolutionized long-distance communication. The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century’s On-Line Pioneers is a book written by Tom Standage in 1998. The innermost initiative of the book claims that out of the telegraph and the internet, the telegraph had more significance due to its ability to communicate globally at all in real-time (this being referred to as a qualitative shift), whereas the variation brought on by the modern Internet was just a quantitative shift.Morse_code_DC_Comics

The culture, which developed between telegraph operators, had some rather unexpected affinities with the modern Internet. Both cultures made or make use of multifaceted text coding, jargon and shortened language, both requisite network security experts, and both attracted criminals who used the networks to entrust fraud, hack private communications, and send unwanted messages. In due course, telegraph lines surrounded the whole globe, making the world a much smaller place. However, unlike the internet the telegraph didn’t develop into a viable news delivery platform the same way that the internet has in the present day. Even though the response to the change was comparable, the ability to react to it was not. Though there are many parallels between the telegram and the internet, there are also differences, and to further highlight these I would like to draw upon the news/newspaper industry. Newspapers had the ability to gradually use the telegraph to advance the concept of print publishing and allow their properties to increase in value. O the other hand, the internet caused a major alteration to the newspaper business model, as advertising and marketing moved online and the cost of publishing and the barrier to entry was changed in a fundamental way.

Although there were comparable consequences to the beginning of these wonderful technologies, newspapers have faced a much steeper set of challenges during the digital transformation. Waiting too long to react to the change and not initially taking it seriously enough has exacerbated this. Newspapers are still paying the price for that postponement, as each one struggles to find a way to remain profitable yet relevant in a tainted marketplace, something they never had to face in the age of the telegraph.


Cline, M.S. 2005, Power, Madness, and Immortality: The Future of Virtual Reality, University Village Press

Standage, T 1998, The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century’s On-Line Pioneers, Walker & Company, Bloomsbury USA

Stroh, M 1998, The Victorian net; The electric telegraph was the 1890s version of the Internet, The Sun, Baltimore USA


One thought on “Tapidi, Tap, Tap.

  1. markarmstrong94 says:

    This was a very insightful and interesting read. Another parallel I also noticed between both means of communication was their ability to allow individuals to communicate secretly. Nicky highlighted in the lecture how couples would send Morse code messages to each other behind their families backs and Thomas Edison used the telegraph to propose to his second wife. It’s interesting of you to note that the telegraph was more groundbreaking than the internet at the time due to its sudden ability to improve messaging. In contemporary society, the Facebook private message has practically taken the telegraph’s place as a clandestine communicator. I guess, the only problem with the Internet is the potential for the private conversation to become public, as was the case for James Franco and the 17-year-old he was trying to seduce. http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/celebrity/james-franco-flirts-with-teenager-on-instagram-20140404-36306.html.
    Good work!


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