Dimitris John Raptis

281 days ago

It’s common to hear how the 19th-century telegraph was the equivalent of today’s internet. In fact, there’s a bestseller about it, The Victorian Internet (1998) by Tom Standage. Except this isn’t true. Sending telegrams 100 years ago was too expensive for most people. For decades, the telegraph was a pricey, elite technology. However, what was innovative for the majority of people c1900 was cheap postage. So, during the heyday of the so-called Victorian internet, transoceanic postal systems made communication cheap, reliable and fast. The flow of information grew significantly more accessible and democratic. Although hard to imagine today, bureaucrats and business leaders alike spoke about cheap postage in laudatory terms that resemble what we hear for many emerging technologies today.

It’s not all lightbulbs

aeon.co

Innovation has become a defining ideology of our time. Be disruptive, move fast, break things! And everyone knows – right? – what innovation looks like. Just Google the word. You’ll see lots of lightbulbs.