Alex wrote a very interesting post on sharing our lives in little pieces. He talks about how various new web technologies allow us to share pieces of our lives in different ways. Alex really captures the way I feel about social web tools such as blogging and Facebook- I feel that they give me a place to share a glimpse of my life that I might not have shared otherwise, and they let me do it easily. Blogging lets me share my thoughts through casual posts and Facebook lets me share my travels through casual photos.
This got me thinking about how far we’ve come with today’s web technology and about how easy it is to communicate and share. It reminded me of my childhood memories of how my mom shared her new life in America with her parents who were back in Korea. My mom and dad were born and raised in Korea, and moved to the US after college in the 1960s. In those days, international travel was expensive and seldom done, international phone calls were expensive and seldom used, and pictures took days to get developed… and you had to wait until you finished the roll of film to get it developed! So, my mom communicated with her parents by writing letters and sending them through “air mail”.
I remember my mom sitting in the spot in the living room where the sunlight shined through the windows, with a warm cup of coffee in her hands as she thought about what to write, and then handwriting a letter to her parents on special “air mail” paper, the kind with a red- and blue-striped border. I think she might have been restricted to writing everything on one page. Imagine the adventure of moving to a foreign country at a time when it was hard to communicate back home with your family and friends. Imagine wanting to share stories about your new life in America, your husband’s career, your three kids’ lives, and your adventures about living in a foreign country while learning a new culture and language. Imagine being restricted to a one-page, hand-written letter that takes one or two weeks to get delivered and waiting another one or two weeks to get a response.
Today, I probably travel to Asia more often than my mom wrote letters or called home. I can send an email or publish a blog post that can be read instantly by people around the world at the click of a button. I can snap a picture on my digital camera and share it easily and instantly. I can call my mom and dad from practically anywhere using my mobile phone. Let’s take a moment to celebrate on how far we’ve come!
Now for the next phase. I am fortunate that my friends and loved ones live in places where they can get to a computer and get to the internet, though admittedly they do this with varying degrees of ease and regularity. But, I still know many people who have made the pilgrimmage to a new country but have friends and family in places where they can not connect to the web easily and regularly and in a cost-effective way.
Where are these people who can’t get connected easily in a cost-effective way?
What can we do to help them get connected?
If we look ahead a few years, how will they be connected with the rest of the world?
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