Telegraphy is a communication method that flourished -- in its electronic form -- during the 19th and early 20th century. It was a breakthrough in communication technology, as it allowed people to send messages fast over long distances. Telegraphy is virtually obsolete in the modern word, thanks to the telephone and the Internet. Despite its disadvantages compared to modern methods, telegraphy also features qualities you cannot find in today's communications.
Telegraphing involved a sender, a receiver and a cable between them. Unlike sending a letter, the only way for someone to intercept a message was to go through the quite impossible process of cutting the transmission cord and setting an electric telegraph on the spot. For this reason, telegraphy became an important tool for in the political scene, in the military and also in business, such as communication with clients and for banking transactions.
Sending and receiving a telegraph is not like the simple task of typing letters and clicking on a button to send an email. Telegraphs often made use of a code developed by Samuel Morse that used short and long sounds to represent different letters of the alphabet. Specialized professionals are imperative to sustain a telegraphy network, and for this reason, during the heyday of telegraphic communication in the 19th and early 20th century, a high number of jobs were available to skilled professionals. On the contrary, you don't need professionals to send or receive an email or a phone call nowadays.
Slow Transmission Speed in 21st Century
Telegraphy is a very slow communication method by 21st century standards. For example, the first trans-Atlantic telegram sent by Queen Victoria to President Buchanan in 1858 took nearly 18 hours to transmit. During the following decades the speed increased, but even the most efficient telegraphy networks cannot rival the speed of an email or telephone communication. No matter the location of an email sender and the receiver, the message always arrives in full -- text and addenda -- within a matter of seconds.
Lack of Personal Touch
Telegraphs are an efficient way to send information quickly, but they lack personal touch. The focus of telegraphs is on important information, as the speed of sending them depends on their size. Modern communication, however, allows senders to express themselves any way they like. A long email, with complicated structure, long sentences and a rich vocabulary, takes only seconds to transmit; hence, you don't have to sacrifice speed for "personality" and vice versa.
Tasos Vossos has been a professional journalist since 2008. He has previously worked as a staff writer for "Eleftheros Tipos," a leading newspaper of Greece, and is currently a London-based sports reporter for Perform Sports Media in the United Kingdom. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication and media from the University of Athens.