Utne Blogs > Science and Technology

The First Messages Ever Sent

by Jake Mohan 

Tags: Science and Technology, technology, gadgets, communications technology, information technology, inventions, cell phones, Internet, New Scientist,


Every new communication method is marked by the technology's first message sent. Colin Barras at the New Scientist rounded up the first messages broadcast with various devices, including the 8,500-year-old Chinese tortoise shells (“woman … eye … window”), Samuel Morse’s “a patient waiter is no loser” telegram in 1838, and “Merry Christmas,” the first text message in 1992.

New Scientist invites readers to submit their predictions for the next communications revolution: “What will be the next communication medium to change the world? And what would your first, historic message be?” One submission will be chosen to win a six-month subscription to the magazine.

I’ll get the ball rolling with my submissions:

1) A banner towed by an airplane bearing a message in LOL speak: “Oh hai! Im up in ur airspace, decorating ur sky!”
2) Subliminal messages embedded in presidential debates: “Attention Joe the Plumber: You are being exploited as a talking point.”
3) Hundred-mile-high lettering etched into the moon’s surface with dynamite: “I Am Writing On the Moon with Dynamite.”

Image by Bill Bradford, licensed by Creative Commons.