This book – “The Victorian Internet” by Tom Standage – sounds like a great read:
This is the story of the oddballs, eccentrics and visionaries who were the earliest pioneers of the on-line frontier, and the global network they constructed — a network that was, in effect, the Victorian Internet.
In particular the following intrigues me:
It points out the features common to the telegraph networks of the nineteenth century and the internet of today: hype, scepticism, hackers, on-line romances and weddings, chat-rooms, flame wars, information overload, predictions of imminent world peace, and so on. In the process, I get to make fun of the internet, by showing that even such a quintessentially modern technology actually has roots going back a long way (in this case, to a bunch of electrified monks in 1746).
It’s always so valuable to reflect on how many of the things we consider novel are actually just another iteration of something that has already happened before.