Minus digital technology and the Internet, Twitter has a surprising ancestor: early 20th-century postcards.
Postcards didn’t exist in the U.S. before1898. That year, the government made it legal to print and send “private mailing cards.” Stamps were a penny. Messages were permitted only on the front of the card. The back was reserved for the address. The limited space required messages to be brief, telegraphic, “tweet-like.”