The main takeaway from Standage’s writing was how far communication has come. In today’s world we don’t have to think twice about sending a message instantly to the other side of the world, and news from far away countries is expected, not rare. The struggles with the telegraph reflect certain aspects of the creation and implementation of the internet, but not perfectly. For instance, Standage spends a chapter discussing the difficulties of stringing the telegraph cable across the Atlantic and the backlash after it didn’t work when opened to the general public. The internet had its difficulties starting up, but when the internet became more widespread it didn’t seem to have as expensive or as difficult of problems. On the other hand, like the telegraph the internet revolutionized news outlets. The telegraph expanded essentially non-existent foreign news coverage by making international content readily available; the internet did the same thing.
The increase in the speed of long-distance communication is the most important legacy of both the telegraph and the internet. The ease and speed allows for better sharing of ideas, which in turn leads to increased global and cultural awareness. Though many of these new cultural ideas may be filtered out according to Pariser, at least we have the potential to be exposed to different ideas.
Do you think the implementation of the trans-Atlantic wire is a direct mirror to the implementation of the internet? Which do you think had a more profound impact initially? Do you think we’re utilizing everything the internet has to offer?