Connecting across the globe

Today, a quick Google search can produce the whereabouts of people you had all but forgotten.

by Laura Orsini — 

While the worldwide population burgeons, technology is making Earth a smaller place, or at least a much better connected one.

Today, we think of dial-up Internet service as moving at a snail’s pace — can you even imagine waiting the 10 whole days it took for a letter to move across America via the Pony Express? In years gone by, you might have pined for a lost love, never thinking of spending the time, treasure or energy it would take to actually go out and find them. Today, a quick Google search can produce the whereabouts of people you had all but forgotten.

Of all the amazing online tools available at our fingertips, one of the fastest growing is social media, and more specifically, social networking. Social media is the use of electronic and Internet tools to share and discuss information and experiences. Web sites like MySpace, facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube are attracting new users every day. In fact, recent research indicates that visits to social networking sites have surpassed pornography as the most viewed on the Web. Who would ever have thought that basic conversation would unseat the sex industry?

When it comes right down to it, human beings are social creatures. We want to connect with each other in meaningful ways. Granted, many facebook friends are there for the sole purpose of business networking. But because of the ease in sharing photos, offering up-to-the-minute details of your day, posting links, recommending books, and updating everyone on any and every facet of your life, even the business networking is done via social interaction.

In just six weeks on facebook, I have connected with people from seven Canadian cities in four provinces, three cities in England, as well as Australia, Egypt, Finland, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Samoa, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa and Spain. Not to mention the almost 200 from the Valley and nearly 100 from various cities around the U.S. Three or four are former colleagues from jobs that date back to the late ’80s; several are people from college; and there are even a few from my high school days. The most interesting experience, by far, was meeting a distant cousin — his grandfather and my father were first cousins.

Once upon a time, people reached out to those on the other side of the world as pen pals. That antiquated approach has been replaced, but the relationships that have usurped them are much the same. Perhaps the only difference is that we can now carry on more conversations simultaneously. The globe may change, but it remains constant in size. Meanwhile, its population continues to grow, becoming more interconnected every day.

 

Laura Orsini is a professional editor, writer and marketing advisor with a BA in nonfiction writing from the University of Arizona. 602-253-8463, laura@wordsmadeeasy.com or www.wordsmadeeasy.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 27, Number 5, October/November 2008.

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