Retrograms vs telegrams
Text messages, it would appear, are the telegrams of the modern age. But if that`s the case, why aren`t these `retrograms` nullifying the need for traditional telegrams?
Living far from friends and family as I do, it`s always comforting in those moments of homesickness to think that I could, if I wanted to, make contact with my nearest and dearest through that now indispensable channel of text messaging.
A quick recce of the online telegram services currently available makes it clear that the telegram`s day as a useful business tool could well come again - if it hasn`t already arrived.Basheera Khan, Editor, itwales.com
I did this very thing over the weekend, and in the course of the ensuing conversation, it was suggested that text messages are the telegrams of the modern age - and it seems just a little ironic that we`ve developed this advanced mobile communications infrastructure spanning a multitude of countries across every continent in the world which we use to send and receive 'retrograms`, as it were.
As the adage goes, out of sight, out of mind - and it looks like that is largely the fate of the telegram. Though they`re still used by royalty, politicians and diplomats as a form of communication which is more immediate than a letter, and more intimate than a fax, for the most part, people tend to think first of faxes and letters, and don`t even entertain the thought of sending telegrams.
But a quick recce of the online telegram services currently available makes it clear that the telegram`s day as a useful business tool could well come again - if it hasn`t already arrived.
Those offering the service range from telecoms companies like BT, to international money transfer and messaging providers like Western Union, to companies like Australia`s PCPost, which focuses on business mailing services; telegrams feature as a core part of the business service bouquet.
And despite the downsides of varying charges and the slightly more complicated procedures involved in sending telegrams, it looks like certain businesses in the UK at least have taken a renewed shine to the medium.
The service providers are not surprisingly touting the telegram as an effective direct marketing medium, an additional tool to add to a customer relationship management utility belt and even as a reminder service to debtors.
In fact, in many ways, it`s been advocated for use in the same instances that mobile messaging fundis have punted SMS in the past, and no doubt will be punting multimedia messaging services in the not too distant future.
Both media have their up- and downsides, and I suppose that like all business tools, you choose the one that achieves the goal most effectively, in the most economical fashion.
Having said that, there`s a certain charm to the thought of sending or receiving something which I certainly perceive as an antiquated form of communication. It`s virtually impossible for a telegram to deliver the immediacy of mobile messaging, but what it lacks in speed, it certainly makes up for in character - and that gets my vote any day.