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Twitter and the telegraph

Ben Schott on the similarities between the telegraph and Twitter:

The 140-character limit of Twitter posts was guided by the 160-character limit established by the developers of SMS. However, there is nothing new about new technology imposing restrictions on articulation. During the late 19th-century telegraphy boom, some carriers charged extra for words longer than 15 characters and for messages longer than 10 words. Thus, the cheapest telegram was often limited to 150 characters.

Schott also shares about 100 words from The Anglo-American Telegraphic Code, a code book that reduced long phrases into single words in order to cut down on telegraphic transmission costs. The full book is available for reading on Google and it includes over 27,000 code words on 460 pages!

Twitter Telegraph

Interview with Ben Schott, author of the

Interview with Ben Schott, author of the Schott’s Miscellany books. It sounds like we have a lot in common, job-wise. “One of the metaphors of what I do that I like is a sort of curator. Often it’s a question of finding information that might’ve otherwise been undiscovered or neglected or not focused upon. What’s fun โ€” and I think this is one of the great joys of curating โ€” is making juxtapositions.” I liked this bit too: “I think it’s easier to be snarky than it is to be decent. Anything to get a smile. It doesn’t last. And actually, it does date.”