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Old January 23rd, 2013, 04:02 AM   #1

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19th century internet


I've had a funky, steampunkish thought. Suppose that, during the age of colonialism, a world-wide method of instant communication was available? Something that allowed people to communicate with each other and write their ideas down to make them available for instant reading.

I'm not assuming any of the other benefits of technology - no advanced computers or related technology, simply a means to exchange messages. Everything else - travel, etc. is still as it was.

What effect do you think it would have had on history, and the spread of the ideas and ideologies formed during that era?
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 04:09 AM   #2

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Who has access to it?
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 05:03 AM   #3

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Good one I was thinking that rebellions against colonialism would have been more successful because of better coordination etc, but then the same could have applied to supression of revolts as well, so maybe they'd cancel each other out?

Is your steampunkernet wireless? I was wondering about the impact it might have had on say, the survival rate on the Titanic.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 05:19 AM   #4

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A very effective method for those governing to stay in power is to keep information from the public. Monarchs in the past relied on the idea that they were better than other people, and we all know the effectiveness of propaganda used by governments. Instant communications means debunking the myths more. The British Empire would not have lasted as long as it did, nor would have USSR. This would have accelerated globalization, but it would have also resulted in less stability. Instant communications are bad for dictators, so more would have fallen, but we would have seen more conflicts around the world as a result.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 05:33 AM   #5

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sicknero View Post
Good one I was thinking that rebellions against colonialism would have been more successful because of better coordination etc, but then the same could have applied to supression of revolts as well, so maybe they'd cancel each other out?

Is your steampunkernet wireless? I was wondering about the impact it might have had on say, the survival rate on the Titanic.
Hmm, I hadn't thought about that. Let's assume that it is
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 05:33 AM   #6

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A very effective method for those governing to stay in power is to keep information from the public. Monarchs in the past relied on the idea that they were better than other people, and we all know the effectiveness of propaganda used by governments. Instant communications means debunking the myths more.
Debunking myths, or an even more effective means of propaganda?
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 05:56 AM   #7

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The endeavour, enterprise and vigour of the industrial revolution will come to a grinding halt as everyone stops working and starts surfing pictures of pornagraphic engravings.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 06:49 AM   #8
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Wouldn't language be a problem?
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 07:30 AM   #9

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Language might be an issue, yes, but those who had an education (i.e. could read and write) could still communicate. Perhaps it would also accelerate the adoption of English as a common language.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 07:39 AM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Naomasa298 View Post
I've had a funky, steampunkish thought. Suppose that, during the age of colonialism, a world-wide method of instant communication was available? Something that allowed people to communicate with each other and write their ideas down to make them available for instant reading.

I'm not assuming any of the other benefits of technology - no advanced computers or related technology, simply a means to exchange messages. Everything else - travel, etc. is still as it was.

What effect do you think it would have had on history, and the spread of the ideas and ideologies formed during that era?
Ok, let's imagine that while steam engines were not developing yet, electricity tech made a tremendous jump forward, allowing a kind of world wide radio telegraph [with a suitable band].

I think to the social impact: in 19th century societies were still almost totally closed. An inhabitant of a Italian state [before of unification, let's say in 1820] lived in a Catholic traditional world [just to say ... witch hunting in Alpine regions was not that far in time ...]. I guess it would have been a kind of trauma the connection with Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists. But also with Protestants [enemies of God in the words of the parish priests].

Furthermore I do think to the effect of the diffusion of the ideas of the French Revolution by means of instantaneous global communications: I cannot exclude that even the British monarchy would have risked something.

I think also to the diffusion of Communism. It was an explosive ideology with the poor means of communications available in the second part of 19th century .... imagine with such a "world wide radio telegraph"!
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