How did people communicate in the Victorian Era?

How did people communicate in the Victorian Era
How did people communicate in the Victorian Era
Posted at 6:53 PM, Dec 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-15 13:54:42-05

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WTXL) - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat are all ways to reach out to family and friends and share on social media, but what if you lived in the Victorian Era? What was their social media of the time?

Sending a loved one on the other side of the country a happy holiday message is as easy as simple as punching up a couple of emojis, but back in Victorian times, things were much more basic. 

"For long distance communication, you had people write letters," said Ephraim Rotter, a curator at the Thomas County Museum of History. "You had people sometimes send telegrams. During that era, Newspapers looked quite a bit different than they do today."

Before computers and the web dominated our lives people actually read these things called newspapers.

In the Victorian Era the newspaper was the "internet," if you will, of the day, sharing major source of town news, functioning more like a simplistic Facebook news feed.

Newspapers of the time, might have 20-30 stories on simple items like "who was visiting town or who was leaving for vacation?" all things now expressed on an individual's feed.

But interestingly enough, Victorian newspapers also contained ads organized in a style like Facebook or lays it out today.

"People would stop by the newspaper to share their story and have some guy scribble it down and then the next day it would be printed in the newspaper."

So we have Victorian version of Facebook but what about Twitter or Instagram?

Nowadays, sending an Instagram post is simple. You go on your phone, record a video, and send it to your friends. But back in the Victorian Era, you didn't send Instagram posts. You sent postcards and sometimes it could take days if not weeks, to simply let someone know how you were feeling.

"With postcards, just like Twitter, there is a character limit. With their inexpensive price, also came a greatly reduced amount of space. You were basically just trying to express the simplest ideas."

Nowadays, you're more likely to get a postcard from a utility company than your best friend. But back in the Victorian Era, those small cards were the prime way to communicate socially.

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