telnet is useful for somethings, but it does have it's limits. Often I'll compose my message and then paste it in (If I want to do something specific or have a header dump from chrome or something and don't want to convert it to a curl command).
openssl s_client is useful for debugging SSL issues. It gives you just about all the info you could want about the certs and then gives you an open pipe to the server that I treat like telnet above.
(Not really trying to argue. As things grow up more tools will support them and engineers like me will learn to adapt and debug them as they do the current generation of protocols.)