The world is shrinking.
Actually, it already shrunk. We live on a tiny planet and it’s getting smaller all the time.
In the 21st Century we’ve come to expect and demand:
- ubiquitous internet access
- free international telephone and video calls (thank you Skype)
- relatively inexpensive (although uncomfortable) flights to every major city on the planet – direct – with daily service
- GPS services to navigate with
- free email, photo sharing, and blog posting services
- free entertainments like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etcetera
- the ability to shop 24 hours a day, internationally (many times with free shipping)
- the ability to pay for something online, quickly and seamlessly
- the ability to download any song, book, movie, or podcast we want within seconds
- and that thing we haven’t heard of yet that someone is cooking up in their garage with some buddies that will be something we can’t live without in another 2 years
We have a ridiculous amount of conveniences available to us that were not even a glimmer in someone’s eye one or two decades ago.
Maybe I’m more in tune with these things because I live in the New York City metro area. I’d concede it’s possible I wouldn’t feel the rapid shrinking of the globe if I lived on the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. But in big cities, like New York, you can’t go one foot without bumping into someone talking on a cell phone, texting, writing on a laptop, sending an email from their device of choice, taking a photo with a device of choice, all while being oblivious of the technology or its infrastructure.
Think about it, really- who cares – I need to send a text message to my friend, I type it, click send and expect him to get it within seconds because that’s how it works… OR I call my friend’s cell phone from my international Skype number while I am in Europe and he is in New York City and of course I expect the phone call quality to be great because that’s how it works. Nobody is thinking about Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) technology (that’s what allows phone calls to be made over the interwebs, if ya didn’t know…) or the ridiculous amount of super cool infrastructure in place to allow all this to happen in real time, super cheap, or even free.
As much as these technologies can become intrusive, with all the beeping, booping and chiming that our devices make as we check our incoming texts, emails, phone logs, tweets, etc. – I’m grateful to have all of this at the ready.
I just said goodbye to a friend of mine, who is moving back to Australia in a few weeks. He’s been in the United States for over a decade and now he’s “heading home” but he has a lot of friends (including me) who will miss him. As we were saying goodbye he said, “Well, when I get back we can Skype (yes, he used it as a verb which shows how ubiquitous it is already) so we can stay in touch.” I nodded because I knew exactly what he meant and I agreed, “Yes, Skype sounds good, we’ll set that up once you get settled,” I replied.
Or my best friend, who is spending the last of the summer with his family in Greece. He lamented that his internet connection at his parent’s house isn’t sufficient to watch YouTube videos to the extent he wanted while he is on vacation. “The connection here is so slow!” he complained in his email to me. He was surprised because why shouldn’t he have fantastic access and internet download quality because it is available everywhere. Meanwhile, our emails continue and although it is not like having him around the corner in NYC, we’re in direct contact sufficiently to stay in close touch while he is multiple time zones and thousands of miles away.
Then there are all of you, dear readers. Claire is in the French countryside, Doug is in Hawaii, Louise is in Australia, Wren on the West Coast in Oregon, and Otto Munchen in Norway, and on and on and on.
You do the same thing I do. You get on the internet, which you expect to be easy, fast and cheap and you post your thoughts on your blogs, or write emails, or make internet telephone calls, all with nary a blip on the mental radar about how we’ve never met in person but have connected intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and more… via the interwebs.
How has your life been improved by access to all this great technology? How are you best leveraging all this amazing access at your fingertips?