This spring, we chuckled when Stephen Colbert asked Twitter cofounder Biz Stone if, given that the first message sent over the telegraph was "What hath God wrought?," the first Twitter message was "What hath God twat?" Which got us to wondering: what exactly was the first message sent out on various modes of communication? Answers below:
TELEGRAPH: 'What hath God wrought?'
America's first telegraph message was transmitted by Samuel F.B. Morse from the Supreme Court room in the Capitol to his assistant, Alfred Vail, in Baltimore on May 24, 1844.
TELEPHONE: 'Mr. Watson—come here—I want to see you.'
The first telephone call was made by Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, to his assistant Thomas Watson on March 10, 1876.
The first e-mail message was sent through ARPANET (precursor to the Internet) by Ray Tomlinson of BBN Technologies in late 1971, between two computers that were literally side by side but were connected only through ARPANET. The exact text has been forgotten, but it is reported to be something like this. The first spam e-mail message was sent via ARPANET on May 3, 1978, to 400 users by Gary Thuerk on behalf of the now long-defunct computer manufacturer DEC, advertising a new line of minicomputers.
AOL INSTANT MESSAGING: 'Don't be scared ... it is me. Love you and miss you'
The first documented AOL instant message (sent through the AOL client) was sent by future AOL vice chairman Ted Leonsis to his wife on Jan. 6, 1993. Her response: "Wow ... this is so cool!"
SMS (TEXT MESSAGING): 'Merry Christmas'
Neil Papworth, an engineer at Airwide Solutions, sent the world's first text message from a computer to a cell phone. The message was sent to Richard Jarvis, who was at a Christmas party near Vodafone headquarters in Newbury, England, in December 1992. The first commercial text message was sent from Los Angeles by Brennan Hayden, at the time an engineer for the Irish wireless company Aldiscon, in June 1993: "burp."
SKYPE: 'Tere, kas sa kuuled mind?'
The first full sentence spoken over Skype was uttered in Estonian by an unknown member of the original development team in April 2003. Its English translation is "Hello, can you hear me?"
TWITTER: 'just setting up my twttr'
The first tweet was by Jack Dorsey, creator, chairman, and cofounder of Twitter, at 12:50 p.m. PT on March 21, 2006.