When I teach children about my job, I always take a hammer to class. That’s because the first news items were nailed to the posts along ancient city streets. That’s why when we refer to something being placed on our website, we say it has been “posted.”
Today is the anniversary of a very important milestone in communication history. On this date in 1861, President Abraham Lincoln received the very first intercontinental telegraph from California.
A few years earlier, Samuel Morse had sent the very first telegraph with the message, “What hath God wrought?”
This became the most important day in the history of spreading the news because for the first time in history, humans could send the news faster than humans were able to travel.
Before the telegraph, humans had to rely on messengers, either running or ride horseback. In later years they relied on boats or trains, and occasionally, on carrier pigeons.
Morse’s invention was a result of pioneering work by scientists, physicists and chemists who had learned how to use the conductive property and the power of metal to communicate information. Thanks to their discovery and determination, people all over the world became able to receive news almost instantaneously.
Although there is a big difference between a text message and telegraph, I believe that Morse’s invention was by far the more important one for this reason.
Today, thanks to the work of many other pioneers, humans are now able to communicate electronically, thanks to a variety of experts, inventors, and technicians who learned to use other kinds of metal and create Internet signals via satellite. In fact, I am not writing this column, or even typing it. Rather, I am speaking into my phone, which is translating my spoken words into written words. I will then post the story on the website after copying and pasting the words I have written. Of course, voice-to-text technology is not perfect. That means I will be needing to heavily edit this before I send it to you to read.
While I have always loved my job in journalism, the process of putting words on paper and then printing those papers and delivering them one by one to the door steps of my readers seem tedious and outdated. I was lucky enough, and blessed enough, to stumble into this online news opportunity more than six years ago. This new technology allows us to share the news with you much faster and also allows you to share the news with others all over the world almost as fast as you receive it yourself.
Also, it gives me the opportunity to work from virtually any place in the world, at anytime,day or night, with a variety of devices.
That means that today, my office looks like this.
One more thing I think we should remember: The four words that Samuel Morse spoke on his first telegraph message: “What hath God wrought?”
I believe we should consider all of these technological advances as a gift from God as well as the result of men’s intelligence and treat them accordingly.