Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Game Changer: Telegraph

Just finished reading Tom Standage's The Victorian Internet. Lest you think that all this modern technology is changing the way we live, first consider the impact of the telegraph. It's amazing to consider that the mechanics of electric communication and networks have changed so little in the past 150 years.
Sure, we've seen increases of speed and data storage capabilities, but no modern electric convenience has had quite the same impact. Even "wireless" technology defines itself as the absence of wires, not a completely new thing.
I appreciated Standage's commitment to scholarship and historical narrative.Often, the parallels to today were obvious and didn't require explanation. But in case those connections were missed, the epilogue provided a concise correlation.
I have added the book to my recommended reading lists for students. The history is fascinating. The human story haunting. The call to wake up and avoid the mistakes of past generations compelling.