Communication Through The Ages

Communication Through The Ages

Before the days of tweeting and texting, people communicated with one another a little differently. Even with the help of animals and use of structured hand signals, it would still take weeks, sometimes months, to send a message. Over time, the sharing of ideas, thoughts, and messages has become easier with shiny new technologies. Here is a look at the evolution of communication throughout the ages, and the methods and tools that have helped connect us all.

The Big Bang


5-7 M Spoken Word Stories

Oral communication was once the only means for passing one's ancestry to the next generation or spooking them with a frightening ghost story.

33,000 Neanderthal Cave Paintings

Our hunched predecessors had an eye better than Picasso, creating cave masterpieces throughout France. Inspired by all the smelly cheese?

550 Postal Service

Did you hear the one about the unstamped letter? You wouldn't get it.

Lost in the mail?

Canadian electronics scientist Doctor Maurice Levy invented an automatic postal sorter in 1957 that could handle 200,000 letters an hour.

150 Smoke Signals

Chinese soldiers were able to transmit messages as far away as 750 KMs in just a few hours with smoke signals along the Great Wall.


301-800 First Handwritten Manuscript

The first Western manuscripts were written without spaces or lifting the pen. Strength training? Go write the Bible.

1150 Carrier Pigeons

Although commonly referred to as "flying rats," these bobble-headed birds were once treasured as yesteryear's dutiful postmen.

Sad but true?

A South African company managed to send data using a carrier pigeon faster than over an ADSL line from the largest South African ISP. The pigeon arrived in two hours, six minutes and 57 seconds; by that time, only four percent of the same 4GB was transferred over the ADSL line.

1440 Gutenberg Printing Press

This brilliant invention paved the road for the Renaissance, Reformation and Scientific Revolutions, and helped the spread of learning to the masses.

A step ahead?

European presses circa 1600 were capable of producing 3,600 pages per day. By comparison, movable type printing in the Far East was done by mannually rubbing the back of the paper to the page and output didn't exceed 40 pages per day.

1684 Semaphore (Maritime Flags)

English scientist Robert Hooke was credited with inventing semaphore, apparently because the patent for "funny hand waving with flags" was taken.

1836 Morse Code

We like morse code so much, we figured we'd just juse it: ....- -.--.---...-..-.-..-. .- -.-.. ... ... .-.-.- ..-. -- --- .-. ... . -.-.--- -... .-..---...- . .-. Interesting, right?

1867 Typewriter

Now a common form of communication for hipsters, the typewriter's first publication was 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' by Mark Twain

1876 Telephone

Do youu think when Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone he thought telecommunication would progress to 'ROTFLMAO'?

Can you hear me now?

Today, there are 4.16 billion people who own a mobile phone.

1890 IBM Punchcard System

Made popular by Big Blue, punchcards were used by the army during World War II. "The Sorter" sequenced cards at 650 cards a minute, giving new meaning to "punching out at work".

1920 Commercial Radio

The first radio broadcast included famous opera singers from the Met; today, we're graced with the likes of Justin Bieber.

Not dead yet?

There are about 44,000 Radio stations worldwide.

1925 TV

The Buggles said it best, 'Video killed the radio star....oh-a-oh'. Americans spend over 13 hours a week watching T.V.

1964 Word Processor

Word Processors saved a few trees, allowed us to write faster and procrastinate longer. Remember the good old days of WordPerfect?

1965 Email

Without the MIT researchers that created email, male enhancement spam and forwarded chain letters wouldn't be possible.

1969 Internet

Started as a US military project, ARPANET serves as the foundation for the modern Internet as we know it. Defense spending win!

1976 Basic Text Editor

Emacs and Vi were two popular text editors created this same year, sparking the nerdiest war in Internet history.

1978 Markup Language

Here's another IBM innovation: Charles Goldfarb, commonly known as the 'father of markup languages', convinced IBM's executives to deploy GML commercially.

1990 Search Engines

Who would've thought the PageRank algorithm would lead to the golden era of pornography? Thanks Google.

1994 Wikis

First created by Ward Cunningham, wiki means "fast" in Hawaiian, which is how long it took the community-edited Wikipedia to destroy every encyclopedia maker in town.

Did you know?

The English edition of Wikipedia Encyclopedia contains around 3 million artiles as of now and if someone were to print the entire Wikipedia encyclopedia into a book, the size of that book would roughly be equivalent to 952 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

1996 Instant Messaging

Instant Messaging, or IM for short, gave us the wonderful world of emoticons. Having a conversation with the person next to you has never been easier.

2002 Social Networking

Thanks to Friendster, then MySpace, and now Facebook, we spend a quarter of our time at work online on social networking sites.

2006 Microblogging

Tweet, tweet, tweet...those small bursts of 140 characters happen 200 million times a day. Who do you follow?

2011 Online Content Collaboration

One part word processing, two parts web technology, an a dash of social networking. Shaken an stirred, enjoy it in the cloud.

The future of communication...

Confluence 4.0 takes content collaboration to the next level.

It's never been this easy to create, share, and discuss rich content online.

Communication Through The Ages

shared by Hyperakt on Sep 13, 2011 in Social Media


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Before the days of tweeting and texting, people communicated with one another a little differently. Here is a look at the evolution of communication through the ages, and the methods and tools that ha...
Category: Social Media




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