If I’ve learned anything from my YouTube comment section,
is that human beings love to communicate.
Nowadays we have more ways to communicate than ever
Apart from good old fansion vocal cords,
e-mails are the most common form of communication
with 74 trillion sent every single year.
That’s 202 billion per day, 2 million per second,
and all of them somehow end up in your mailbox.
Next to email, you have Whatsapp,
with 36 trillion whatsapp messages per year.
then you’ve got 14 trillion Wechat messages,
7 trillion texts, 200 billion tweets, 109 billion Zoom calls,
7万亿条短信 2000亿条推特 1090亿次视频通话
about 5 Yahoo Messenger calls and somehow,
17 million telegrams.
Yes, you heard me right.
The world still sends millions of telegrams every single year.
There is a few questions like
who, what, when, where, why, and how.
谁 内容 何时 何地 原因 以及怎么干
Four of those are pretty easy to answer.
Telegrams. Telegrams. The world and Now.
电报 发电报 地球上 以及现在
But the remaining two, who and why,
are a little more complicated.
To explain why such an old and outdated technology has managed to stick around
while so many others like pagers,
dial-up modems in the iPhone 12 have all that disappeared.
you need to understand just how influential and widespread telegraph system really work.
You see, when telegrams became publicly avaliable, they were a big deal.
In the early 1800s, long distance communication was still slow and pretty unreliable.
Apart from smoke signals, flag signals and voice signals, also sometimes called yelling,
除了烽火 旗语 和声音讯息 也就是喊叫
your only option for sending a message more than a few miles a way was by mailing a letter.
And seeing as postal system didn’t have access to trucks, planes,
or until the mid-19th century, even trains,
those letters didn’t travel quickly.
If you want to slide into a fair maiden’s DMs from another city,
your message could take weeks to arrive.
enough time for her to get swept off her feet by another man, get married
and then get swept off her feet again by tuberculosis.
If you were flirting abroad, it could take months
and you’d probably have to send a few coyies of your message too
since letters were so frequnetly lost.
This famously, is what inspired Samuel Morris to implement
a new long distance communication system in the United States.
After receving a letter and forming him that his wife was sick,
he travelled home to Connecticut,
only to discover that she had already been burried.
The electric telegraph, a niche technology used in the UK for railway signaling
seemed like the perfect solution.
Sending electrical impulses across wires made long distance communications almost instantaneous
and you didn’t have to worry about your saucy words ending up at the bottom of the Atlantic
So in the 1840s, Morris set out to develop a national network
因此 19世纪40年代 莫里斯开始着手建立起全国范围内的网络
and design a new telegraph language to decode the electrical impulses into words.
That way, he could be there for his wife the next time she died.
这样 如果时光倒流 他就能见上妻子的最后一面了
By the 1850s, telegrams were all the rage
with 12,000 miles or 19,000 kilometers of cable in the United States alone,
and the very first undersea cable connecting North America and Europe accross the Atlantic
This net work changed basically everything.
It made it possible to sync up clocks around the world and finally create standardized time zones,
It leds to the creation of national stock markets,
and it transforms news reporting from a mostly local affair
to something national or even international.
Giving people a new sense of global awareness
that eventually made everyone really depressed.
And unlike most outdated technologies,
the telegraph had no competition for decades.
It was the only way to communicate long distance.
Governments, businesses, and financial institutions
无论是政府 企业 还是金融机构
all had to redesign themselves around the telegraph and I promise I’ll get to this in a second,
that’s basiclly why they still exist today.
这就是为什么 到了今天 它们还仍然存在
Now, in 2006, Western Union,
到了现代 2006年 西部联盟公司
the largest telegram company in the United States
announced it was shutting down its telegram service,
which a lot of news outlets falsely reported was the end of the telegram.
Then in 2013, India state run telegram service shut down
而后 2013年 印度宣布停止现行的电报服务
which the news outlets decided was a great opportunity to not do any research again
and declared this “the definitively for real end of the telegram”.
It turns out though, that dozens of countries still have working telegram systems,
and there are dozens of companies that still get by
and pay the bills on their very defensive websites by only delivering telegrams.
In the United States for example,
Western Union’s remaining network was handed over to a company called iTelegarm,
which still sends telegrams internationally for about 30 bucks.
But why? Well, there are a few reasons you might want to send a telegram in 2021.
为什么呢？这么说吧 在2021年 总会有一些原因让人想发电报
In the United States at least, telegrams have been around long enough
that they’ve worked their way into the dusty old laws and protocols
that haven’t yet caught up to the 21st century,
or the 20th century, for that matter.
Some contracts for example, still have clauses that require written notices,
and telegrams can be much faster than traditional letters.
That’s becasue, by law, a telegram is effective the moment it’s filed with the telegram company.
那是因为 依据法律 电报早在被电报公司填写好时就生效了
The time stamp on the telegram is considered synonymous with a post mark from the post office.
You might also want to send the telegram if you worried your message will be challenged in court,
something like a contract cancellation or message that says
“I am so not going to kill my husband tonight.”
Telegrams are legally recognized documents and tend to hold up in court
in court better than emails or text messages,
mostly because telegram companies keep records for seven years,
and can vouch for you as a third party,
which Apple or Google or facebook could probably do
其实苹果 谷歌 脸书这些公司也能做到
if they weren’t too busy using those records to sell you a Peloton.
The remainder of modern telegrams are generally sent for
special occasions like weddings or funerals,
since they don’t take much effort, but kindly seem like they do.
So after you’ve done proving that you didn’t kill your husband in court,
you can send yourself another telegram as consolation.
Of course, sending yourself a telegram every time one of your husbands mysteriously dies
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If I’ve learned anything from my YouTube comment section,