Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It's A Small World Afterall

We live on the third rock from the sun.  It is estimated that there are seven billion people inhabiting said rock.  It never ceases to amaze me how small the world has become because of the internet and social media.

Consider this: It used to take four weeks (best case scenario) to cross the Atlantic from Europe to the American colonies during colonial times.  The journey was by no means a snap.  Transatlantic crossings were a dangerous enterprise.  There was no guarantee that you would survive journey either because of disease or ship wreck.  While I watched the HBO John Adams miniseries a few months ago, I marveled at the courage Abigail Adams possessed when she let her eldest son travel with John to Europe during the Revolutionary War.  Can you imagine having to wait for eight weeks or more to receive word that your husband and son had arrived safely?

In the summer of 1994 I spent a month in Spain.  At that time it took 10 days to get a letter from upstate New York to Spain.  My mother started to write me letters before I even left the States!  We were to immerse ourselves in the culture and not call home.  When we arrived safely in Madrid my Spanish teacher placed a call home to the designated person (who was in charge of the parental phone tree) to let them know we had made it safely.  We spent three days touring Madrid before we were sent to our host families.  I was in country four days before I had a chance to write a letter home and let my family know how my trip was going.  Add to that the 10 day air mail (considerably faster than the majority of the alternatives at that point) time, and it was two weeks before my mother heard from me.

Here we are in 2012 and social media is not new.  However, I still marvel at the people I am instantly in touch with daily around the world.  I have tweeps (people I communicate with on Twitter) in England, Australia, and most recently Denmark.  Instant communication (140 characters or less in the case of Twitter) with people around the globe!  This is not to mention all the tweeps I tweet with from New York to California, plus a few Canadian neighbors to the north.  We tend to take this instant communication technology for granted.

Today as I was tweeting with my latest tweep from Denmark, I stopped to think about how incredible that feat truly is.  My mind was blown.  What we communicated in a matter of seconds would have taken at least eight weeks 250 years ago.  In the course of human history, 250 years is not a lot of time.  It makes me wonder where we will go in the next 250.

Until Tomorrow - Melissa


  1. I'm a big fan of the Drake Equation ( which says, among other things, that we will never be able to talk to other people in the Galaxy because they will have blown themselves up by the time they are smart enough to talk across the vast distances of space.

    So if we follow along this line of rapid, almost unbelievable technological developement, we will soon whip up something-oh I don't know, black matter anyone?-that puts an end to everything and it all starts over again.

    On the plus side, yeah it is pretty cool to be able to chat away with people so far away, like the other side of the Metroplex. :)

  2. LOL! Jon - I think it says something that as I reached your third paragraph I'm thinking to myself, he's gonna make a quip about talking to "neighbors" over the internet. BINGO. Great minds think a like ;)

  3. One of my favorite Twitter stories was about one of the women on The View. She was using Twitter for the show and making the usual random comments about going shopping and the like. So she went outside and her neighbor called out to her.

    "So, you're going to the shoe store, eh?"

    "How'd you know that?"

    "I saw it on your Twitter account."

    She stopped using Twitter not long after that.