Information is globalizing between 1850 and 1950. Post, telegraph and telephone networks, and after 1900, radio communications have a dual impact on the overall economy of information. The postal service delivers books, newspapers and news, contributing to changes in printing and information. From personal messages to letters and commercial and diplomatic telegrams, everything is getting faster to more distant destinations, and this change greatly affects people’s mentality, habits, everyday lives, and even their ideas about space and time remain unchanged. Some believe that the telegram and the photo question the achievements of typographic culture: by removing information from its usual context, discourse loses coherence, as new tools favor speed at the expense of message content analysis. With emergency digest options this is the best deal.
On the other hand, the large communication networks that emerged in the 19th century also play an important role in learning the lesson of democracy: they build up systems for controlling information that are compatible with the organizational structure of society and the political values of society. In addition, networks force people to acquire certain new codes of conduct that are indispensable for long distance communication. These newly acquired skills will be largely built on the electronic media of the late 20th century.
Revolution of News
During the 19th century, the reproduction and transmission of news has undergone technological changes with the right to speak of the first revolution of information. However, it is worth spending time with this term. Undoubtedly, the year 1837, after the invention of the telegraph, opens up entirely new perspectives before the message. The telegram reaches its target in minute’s maybe hours, while traditional mail needs days maybe months to do so: in general, messages are getting faster and farther.
If a Londoner sent a message to India in 1830, his letter was around the Hope and reached the finish line in five or eight months, and the answer was – just because of the monsoon only two years later. After 1850, the same letter could have been on the Alexandria-Cairo-Suez route for thirty to forty-five days by train, steamboat and finally camel; the sender could hope for a response within three months. Twenty years later, a telegram sent by submarine lines reaches its target within five hours; the sender may receive a reply to his message the same day.
However, the technology historian is reluctant to mention revolution in the changes in technology; rather, he speaks of continuous, occasionally accelerating development. We need to look for radical changes elsewhere: “social systems” that crystallize around new technologies are changing the way society as a whole works so that historians rightly mention revolutionary changes. This term can also be used to describe the 19th century renewal of communications techniques.
After 1840, a coherent set of tools was created that remained essentially unchanged until 1950. Emphasize some key stations in the system:
1837 – The invention of the telegraph;
1876 - The appearance of the phone;
1899 – Telecommunication based on radio waves.
However, these “technical innovations” alone do not mean much. They can only gain real significance if they are able to become an integral part of a larger whole that is in constant change, the other components of which are the revolution in passenger transport (rail and shipping), the modernization of the postal network, the first globalization of the economy, which is not so much a colonial empire.