Effective January 27, 2006, Western Union will discontinue all Telegram and Commercial Messaging services. We regret any inconvenience this may cause you, and we thank you for your loyal patronage.A little less than 162 years before, Samuel FB Morse sent the first telegram, saying:
Western Union Telegram, 27 January 2006
What hath God wrought?It took some years for telegrams to become commercially available, and it’s possible there is some company still sending telegrams today, but more than a century and a half is a pretty long run for a technology.
Will the Internet still be around in another 130 years or so? My bet would be it or something like it, perhaps using different protocols, and almost certainly more densely connected to not only more nodes but to more different types of nodes, from toothbrushes to airliners. (Of course, in that sense you could argue that telegrams are still around; they just morphed into Instant Messages and cell phone text messages. And for how much of what we think originated on the Internet was actually tried earlier on telegrams, not to mention how many of the social effects were, or were feared to be, the same, see the book, The Victorian Internet.) For the next few decades? Even more so.
Keeping up with the opportunities afforded by the Internet can be a big competitive advantage; not doing so is a big risk of doing business. I wonder if I’m imaging, for example, a correlation between airlines that got the Internet early and made their services increasingly available easily over the Internet (Southwest), even providing information about other airlines’ flights (American) and those that didn’t or did so slowly (Delta).