Sending an SMS message this morning, I was struck by how the enforced brevity lent it a certain similarity to the good old telegram.

SMS messages are limited to 160 characters and, typically entered on a keyboard which is far from optimal, would probably be short anyway. With some service providers they are also ridiculously expensive – I pay about 12p (18c) to send a few words. Despite this, one can usually say enough to get one’s meaning across and the convenience makes it worth while.

This made me wonder: Would the world be a better place if email weren’t, as it is now, effectively free of charge? If we had to pay a couple of cents per word per recipient for every email, it might encourage us to be more succinct, and it would also greatly reduce spam. I suspect the result would be a better quality of life for all 🙂

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