Mark Jones

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The roots of Twitter?

June 18, 2009

Zach Seward of the Nieman Journalism Lab has a great piece of evidence for the ‘nothing new under the sun’ debate. The ‘Telepot’ competition in the Penny Illustrated Newspaper of 1913 encouraged readers to condense telegrams into just 12 words.

If you share the view that the telegraph was the Victorian internet then perhaps this was the (very late) Edwardian Twitter.


Thanks for putting this up, Mark. My other favorite Twitter-before-there-was-Twitter image is this one from Modern Mechanix in 1935: “Robot Messenger Displays Person-to-Person Notes in Public.”

Posted by Zach Seward | Report as abusive

Zach, that’s extraordinary. I guess it probably wasn’t convenient enough to really take off but wonder how long it survived.

Posted by Mark Jones | Report as abusive

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