Today I am thankful for living in the Electronic Age. When I was born, communicating with people far away was done via phone or postal (snail) mail. There were limited forms of the internet but that wasn’t available to general public. A hundred years before that, there was just telegrams. A hundred years before that, just snail mail.
It’s amazing to live in a time where with a few clicks, you can talk face to face with someone on the other side of the world (or who aren’t even on this world in the case of astronauts). For so much of human history, your world revolved around people within 20miles or so of you. People might travel all over the world, but that could take years and they would essentially cease to exist for those years.
Now, I live in Texas while my sisters live in Florida and Missouri and my parents in Maine. My father-in-law lives in Azerbaijan, almost literally the other side of the world (our antipode is actually in the middle of the Indian Ocean, but longitudially we’re 144 degrees apart). Yet we are still able to talk to our families despite the distance.
I use to play a SWRPG game with people all over the country, people I’ve never met in person but have been friends with for 5+yrs. One of our long time guild members lives in Sweden. I’ve gamed with people in Australia, Turkey, and France.
Email, Facebook, Twitter, cell phones, smart phones, Skype, Ventrilo, Team Speak Xbox Live, Playstation Network, MMO’s, forums, blogs, YouTube; love them or hate them, they all work together to bring about a shrinking of the world. People aren’t a mysterious Other anymore. They are people who are just as far away as your parents.