From Pigeons to Instant Messages: Ancient Communication Methods and what we can learn from them

Instant Messages

Ever wonder how our ancestor’s methods of communication got us where they are today? I don’t know many people who are comfortable without their trusty smartphone glued to their bodies at all times, but this hasn’t always been like this. While it may be hard to believe that we could survive without the instantaneous communication afforded by a quick text or a phone call, history says otherwise.

Before Alexander Graham said, ‘Ahoy’,  how did people even communicate?

The first recorded form of communication took place in the year 1800 BC when Chinese soldiers leveraged smoke signals to warn their comrades 500 miles away from the Great Wall of China. At that time, secret messages were usually sent via Pigeons.

In the year 1877, Alexander Graham invented the telephone.

After the invention of the cell phone in the year 1973, communication got easier.

Just around the fourth millennium, the cuneiform script was used. Long before paper was used as a mode of communication, the script was considered the earliest method of writing.

The characters were inscribed on stone or clay tablets. For over 35 years, this method was used to communicate with others. The technique was replaced with alphabetic writing during the Roman Era.

The first telegraphs were Visual Telegraphs; they used visual signals such as smoke signals and beacons. These have existed since ancient times, but they were unreliable and very susceptible to being garbled in transit. Here is a fantastic video of how visual telegraphs worked in ancient times.

What can we learn from Ancient communication?

Coded messages: In some rural areas, Pigeon post is still being used. A message is composed and tied around a pigeon’s leg. The method is still used by the military and navy to convey urgent orders from one post to another. The modern-day equivalent for this is self-destructing messages. Services like Privnote gives you the ability to send messages that vanish as soon as they are read. This proves that coded messages were a need in ancient times and people figured out a way for it.

Possibility of miscommunication: At times when there was no way to confirm what the message meant, there was no way to learn that the conveyed message was one that was sent. In business, any miscommunication can be a disadvantage. This is why the invention of email helped us send a clear message.

Cost & storage problem: The modern-day is all about minimizing the cost and increasing the storage. Earlier, a significant cost was associated with engravings and storage of tablets. That cost was reduced over time, with storage shrinking from roomful of cabinets to thumbnail sized devices.

The Liability: The written content caused a liability issue. For instance, spoken words are quickly forgotten, while emails, memos, and other documents can be used as proof. Also, the natural replication of written communication makes it riskier; while a spoken off-color joke may offend a few people; for example, an inappropriate email can instantly be forwarded to thousands of recipients.

In ancient times people used animals to get their messages across. Mostly, Pigeons. This is where the name ‘Pigeon post’ came from. Pigeons have a vague sense of direction. This is the core of any message. If you are sending a message to someone, there must be a reason behind it.

Fast forward to modern times, you see a plethora of ways with which you can send your messages across. From writing emails to shipping services like FedEx and UPS, people are sending messages in an instant. Although there are some shipping charges attached, everything is done to make it convenient for the customer.

Overnight shipping is used for messages that are urgent and important. They are shipped to the next available flight. In today’s corporate world, being critical and essential marks the line between success and failure in the long run. If you are shipping your product fast without testing it, there is a chance that people will criticize and reject it.

This is what happens with your package once it is ready to be shipped.

It is up to you to take that feedback and do something useful out of it. The mode of communication is so vital. After computers, email becomes the most popular instant messaging service. Unlike previous times, when Pigeons used to take days to deliver a message, email takes seconds to read.

Moving on to some advanced level messaging service, TaskQue presents instant messaging with some fantastic new options. You can create a project and assign people to it. Moreover, with every update, the concerned person will get a notification. This notification will keep everyone on the same page.

TaskQue understands the shift that took centuries to adapt and improve. TaskQue supports quick notifications incorporating relevant updates, heads-up or reference links to all the significant operations communicated within a team or using the application. But that’s not just All that it Offers.

TaskQue gives you the power to control notification-emails based on their requirements, so this means they can control information influx. In addition, users can sort out from among the plethora of notifications update, so they never miss out on anything important. You can take help from the TaskQue community to connect with industry experts and get all your answers on the go.