May 29, 2017
If you blame Twitter for putting lots of useless trivia into the world (I don’t. Before there was Twitter, there was Yahoo!), think again.
According to an article the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, telegraph operators way back in the 1800s could pretty much do the same thing, using Morse code. They had their own shorthand for talking to each other, just like we have for texting and Twitter—they would type “GM” for “Good Morning”, “SFD” for “Stop for dinner”, etc.
When a message was transmitted, everybody along the line could hear it, and could join in the conversation—like a chat room. Operators played chess and checkers using Morse code, and often became long-distance friends, without ever meeting. And the 1891 issue of Atlantic Monthly griped about the trivialities being shared and inflicted upon society.