The arrival of the telegraph created a revolutionised reality for information. No longer were we required to physically move the message to the location it was being delivered to – whether that involved going and verbally communicating face to face, or writing a letter to be delivered, the message could only reach its destination through physically being transported. Instead, the message was dematerialised, to be converted from its physical reality, into digital data. A binary form to be transported from point A to B via connecting wires across the world.
I don’t want to focus on the telegraph, instead I want to focus on how it created a shift in the way we communicate. The invention of the telegraph paved the way for further technology to be developed, and within our current day and age, we interact with digitised information all the time. The internet is our modernised version of the telegraph – instantaneous global communication on a global scale. We convert our messages into digital data to upload and share on the web, giving anyone with a connection to the network an opportunity to access our stuff.
We communicate in a way which does not require a physical form, or something tangible we can hold and read, but rather through a series of binary code, converted into a form we can interact with on an instant scale. This instant communication has grown with it a culture of impatience. Our messages get sent in a matter of seconds, and we expect a response back with similar immediacy. We share what is happening to us in real time, and receive feedback in real time – likes on Facebook, comments on Instagram, retweets on Twitter. We peer into the lives of those around us, through their digital representation of how they are currently engaging with the physical world. Are we at a point where our physical interactions with the world are no longer worth anything if they cannot be preserved digitally for future reference? And if so, are we still living the now if we feel the need to document every second of it, to look back upon?