Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management.

Mr. Lincoln's Telegraphy Practices and Modern Email

Mr. Lincoln's Telegraphy Practices and Modern Email

By Dennis D. McDonald

A while back I published an announcement about a new book by Tom Wheeler called Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails: The Untold Story of How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War. Tom sent me a note suggesting I also check out the book’s web site, which is here.

One of the things listed on the web site is a discussion of how Abraham Lincoln used telegraphy and how this might relate to modern usage of email. Here’s a brief quote from Wheeler’s commentary, What Abraham Lincoln Taught Me about Email—Thoughts on How Lincoln’s Electric Communications Came to Affect Mine:

Lincoln sought face-to-face exchanges. Walking among the government agencies to drop in on one person or another, Lincoln could not only deliver a message, but also hear a reply, see the body language, and engage in dialog. Electronic communications became an important part of Lincoln’s leadership, but only in situations where distance was too great and mail or messenger too slow. I have become more aware that emails are not a substitute for walking down the hall or picking up the phone.

The rest of Wheeler’s commentary is definitely worth reading — especially if you use email and instant messaging a lot!

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