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Connecting the dots

By Debbie Olujobi
The world is a global village; its size and distance less of a hindrance to communication and interaction. The conquering of the air for flight and sea for voyages began the downsizing of the vast geographical entity that is the earth.

In recent times a good argument can be made that technology has conquered time and space with the introduction of the internet and the worldwide web. Contact can be achieved by one person on the South Pole with another in the North Pole within seconds; if you can formulate a thought in the Sudan, you can transmit it to another person on Mount Everest at the touch of a button.

Time and space no longer form a barrier to interaction and as such we all become neighbours in the same global village. Given my thoughts this week I would venture further to say we have all become a big family as all our lives seem connected from one end of the globe to the other.

Global village as a term is closely associated with Marshall McLuhan in his books but I became more familiar with the phrase when Hilary Clinton used it in the nineties. Right now global Sofa seems more appropriate with social networking and all other gadgets and technologies making the world more Siamese in nature than interdependent.

In my opinion we have all become dots that are becoming more connected with each technological advancement.  I was one of those who initially resisted the lure of the blackberry but it was inevitable that I would like most people align with progress and get with the program.

It had initially just seemed ugly and big but I was converted when I got one of the later models as a birthday present. I consider it Sweet irony that my first Blackberry and first IPod and even IPad came from friends. Years later I am considered a gadget freak as I am surrounded by all sorts of gadgets and accessories that would compete favourably with any one on the planet.

I am fascinated by little gadgets that communicate and carry information and it thrills me endlessly that I am able to get all my work done and even entertain myself wherever and whenever.

Long before Facebook became a staple for all interactions, emails and instant messages had in earlier years helped in fostering closer bonds with people of all race and creed. News and information at the touch of a button in real time has unified the world, sometimes in joy and other times in horror.

I did not see the 1st plane crash into the world trade centre 2001 but I saw in horror the second plane tear into that building the second it happened; I joined the world in tears watching the burial of Diana; the Princess of Wales in 1997 and this year I was one with the world when we all celebrated the wedding of Diana’s son William to Katherine Middleton.

There is a “We” that comes with unison and that’s the point at which we all connect. Our humanity is in one and all of us and technology brings it closer with each invention. I wonder what the pre-telephone people will make of an IPad or a blackberry?

We live in interesting times but I am sure our technology will be as ancient as the telegram to subsequent generations.

That I am a closet geek is no longer news; I love science I cannot lie. This week I was rather upset by the death of an individual that I may not have known in person but was connected to by technology. In fact I was woken up by the breaking news swoosh on one of the gadgets he gave the world.

I have developed a habit of either playing games or watching movies on the IPad into the wee hours of the morning and on the 5th of October I must have forgotten to turn the volume off as I was brought out of sleep by the alert of breaking news.

Everyone’s favourite geek had lost his 7 year battle with pancreatic cancer; Steve Jobs; Apple’s co-founder and former CEO was dead. He was all of 56. Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft is no less brilliant but Steve Jobs was cool; a cool geek is a major miracle.

I was surprised by how upset I was and I was moved enough to say a prayer for his family. That’s the thing about the new connectivity; we all feel invested and connected to the other. Relationships are no longer base
d on physical interactions; we are able to connect via technology and the bonds forged are meaningful.

Cyber relationships are developing at per with their physical counterparts and love lives on the World Wide Web!

if I were to describe my level of social interaction; I would say that I like people in small doses! Technology can measure the level of interaction and yet bring the world up close and Technicolor. I would have loved to see what Jobs would have evolved into; his mind was an amalgamation of technology and aesthetics and he made science cool.

Thanks to him; tablets are no longer pills for swallowing but a revolutionary gateway to information. Scientists are no longer the funny looking individual’s in lab coats; they wear jeans and party; they are connecting us all; dot by dot. Jobs was a giant.

Thanks to him; my music, games, books and videos can be kept on a gadget that fits into my pocket. Computers are no longer black and grey boxes but different colours and shapes; he brought passion into science. Here is to you Steve Jobs; thanks for all the gadgets and innovations; a true legend and innovator of our time; May the Force be with you!


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