The immediacy of communication is so instant nowadays, we forget what it is like to wait for a letter, telegram or long distance phone call, connected by an operator. I loved the actress Lily Tomlin's character in the old TV show 'Laugh In' .
As a 1940's operator, she would snort ," Hello? Have I reached the party to whom I am speaking?" The saying in Australia - I heard it on the bush telegraph, just means you heard by word of mouth. So, the events of Christmas day for me were ironic when a nephew who lives in Washington, DC told me some surprising family news. I assumed I was the last one to hear it, due to my distance from Oz. But a few hours later my own sister rang. When I discussed this news with her, she had no idea and was quite indignant that i should know this family gossip before her.
So it went like this: news from Australia went to Washington, USA, was picked up in Canada and then relayed back to Australia! By now the phones in Oz will have run hot! Distance, in this case, is a good thing!