compare contrast essay - telegraph vs texting

958 Words Feb 20th, 2015 4 Pages
English 101-English Composition
Compare-Contrast Essay: Final
Texting - 1830’s Style
Texting has, in many instances, replaced telephone as a quick and easy way to communicate a short message in one direction over long distances. Sending quick one-way messages may feel like a modern convenience, but it is very similar to communicating through Morse Code on the electric telegraph - technology that was commonplace nearly 200 years ago. Had the electric telegraph been brought into the home, the need for modern day texting may have evolved quite differently, or maybe not at all.
The electric telegraph, invented in the 1830's, sent messages over wires from one point to another using the short ‘dots' and longer ‘dashes' of Morse Code. By the
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In an appearance on NBC's The Tonight Show, in 2005, two average Morse Code operators competed against 2 texting teenagers using cell phones to send a message. The Morse Code was transmitted at a moderate 39 WPM and won by several seconds [source:]. If common people had bothered to learn Morse Code, the home telegraph could have brought fast personal communication at the end of the 19th century instead of the end of the 20th century. Or maybe sending a text message today would have involved Morse.
However, after a fashion, it was not even necessary to learn Morse to use the telegraph. Starting in the early 1900’s, telex machines, looking much like large typewriters, converted the output to regular text and allowed users to send a message without learning Morse. If you have ever watched an older movie showing a newsroom with the clamoring of multiple automated typewriters spitting out the “news flash”, then you’ve seen such machines. Customers on any telex exchange could deliver messages to any other, around the world, just like modern texting does today. Why couldn’t such machines also have been employed in the home for personal use?
Even the language of texting is similar to that of the telegraph. A younger generation has adopted the habit of using abbreviations whenever possible, both to save time and effort. Most everyone is familiar with some of the more common texting slang such as brb (be right back), ttyl (talk to

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