Sunday, February 17, 2008

Nothing New

The Economist notes that Twitter is being used by journalists during election coverage as a tool akin to cablese, which journalists used in the early 20th century.

The Economist also recently noted that the first occurrence of spam was probably in 1864, when British politicians received telegrams in the middle of the night, which turned out to be advertisements for dentistry. They very suitably annoyed, much in the way we were to get phone calls from MCI at dinner time or Viagra ads in our email. (Oh yeah, still get the latter.) It's hard to think of what life was like before the phone, but you can imagine:
In 1903 the trade journal Telephony reported an elderly woman's complaints about her niece, who received a phone call from a male friend while dressing. “The two of them stood talking to one another just as if they were entirely dressed and had stopped for a little chat on the street! I tell you this generation is too much for me,” she grumbled.
Telephone protocol also differs around the world: in parts of Scandinavia, people text you first to get your permission to call (I kinda like that), and in Japan using your phone for spoken conversations on the train is verboten, although phones work there. If we get connectivity on the subway here in New York (and you can guarantee we will), I hope that's a custom that's appropriated here, pronto.

Related: NPR's News Blog Twitter feed | New York Times Politics feed

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