It’s the end of an era. You saw the bad guy in a Robert Young western holding a gun to the operator’s head and forcing him to write a terse message. You saw Loretta Young and even earlier movie stars receiving good or bad news from the hotel bellboy in the form of a piece of folded paper on a tray.
Yes, the era of the telegram, a time-honored method of communication for 150 years, came to a quiet end last Friday when Western Union delivered its final telegram. Check it out here.
The thing about telegrams is, because you paid by the word, they demanded careful thinking and precise use of words. In that sense, I lament their end. With the ubiquitousness of computers and email, most of us are not forced to think through what we want to say. Often, we just spew–and whole books are written about the troubles we can get into for writing the wrong word(s) in emails.[ADBLOCKHERE]
So just for fun, next time you have to write a business email, pretend it’s a telegram. Your readers will be glad you did.