After several years of difficulties and rebuilding, the Atlantic Telegraph was built to bring the world together. Engineers and Inventors worked tirelessly to modernize the simple ways of the Postal Service and offer a new technology that would allow for quick, easy communication across nations, continents and bodies of water. Many often looked to the Atlantic Cable as a, “a triumph more glorious, because far more useful to mankind, than was ever won by a conqueror on the field of battle” (Standage, 81). In its time, the new telegraph system was thought as a miracle, as it gave people the hope of connecting lands and reuniting people. Similarly, in modern day, people often regard Facebook with similarly. Facebook prides itself on the motto “Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.” The social networking site gives its users the opportunity to make similar connections that the Atlantic Telegraph had promised centuries before. Therefore, the Atlantic Telegraphic of the late 1800s, foreshadowed the creation and expansion of connecting with others, like many social networking sites allow for today.
Despite its initial failure, the Atlantic Telegraph was often compared to the discovery of the New World: “since the discovery of Columbus, nothing has been done in any degree comparable to the vast enlargement which has thus been given to the sphere of human activity” (Standage, 83). The Atlantic Telegraph projected to reunite people, connect lands and allow the easy exchange of thought and information- many of the things that we, today, take for granted. In its ultimate peak, the new technology would bridge the gap of different worlds, providing strong ties to unite the human race and allow for peace. While some of the goals for Telegraph might seem lofty and idealistic in retrospect, it does bring up several strong points that propelled the need for a strong communication device forward. Facebook, like the Atlantic Telegraph, allows its users to connect with virtually anyone, proving that communication forms are a necessity for the overall well being of society. As Henry Field wrote, “it brings the world together. It unites distant nations, making them feel that they are members of one great family” (Standage, 104). However, as Standage points out, better communication does not always lead to a greater understanding; the creation of new technologies (whether it is the Telegraph or Facebook) may appeal to people, but it does come with a cost.
So with this, I pose to you: do you feel that technologies like the Telegraph and social networking websites such as Facebook allow for its users to truly connect? Or is it just a lofty goal that only personal interaction can make up for?