Sometimes technology connects us in such a way that we realize that the world, and maybe the universe, is a lot smaller than we realize.
In the last couple of weeks, several tech connections have broadened my perspective from different parts of the world — and from outer space.
First, one of NewsOK's editors, Lindsay Houts, is visiting India for a month with Rotary International and blogging about it at blog.NewsOK.com/lindsay-houts. Her colorful accounts of the trip range from marigolds and the condition of the showers to a look at Indian businesses and her impression of the Taj Mahal. Because The Oklahoman has been putting some posts in print, she and I have had to communicate even when her Internet connection is spotty. I've reached her through Facebook, Twitter and email. I even took a photo to show her what she was missing in our newsroom (not much), emailed it and heard back from her from India within minutes. Real-time communication a world away.
Second, I worked on a story last week about the Norman humanitarian group 1040i working this month deep in Ivory Coast, Africa, hundreds of miles from the largest city of Abidjan. To learn more, I interviewed media specialist Jacob Meyer from Abidjan via the video chat service Skype, using my iPad. Then, as we finished, he said if I had follow-up questions after he left the city for the bush to try emailing him through 1040i's satellite phone powered by generators. However, he added, he thought the best way to reach him would be through a text to his 405-area-code cellphone. So I sent texts to the heart of Africa, and while I didn't hear back from him, I was able to follow the trip on 1040i's blog on the Web and through its iPhone application.
Finally, working from the International Space Station, Canadian astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield has used Twitter and social media to invite the whole world to join him high above it. As @Cmdr_Hadfield on Twitter and @ColChrisHadfield on other sites, he tweets, from space, photos and reflections about the Earth and also posts to Facebook, Tumblr, Soundcloud, etc. Last Thursday, he spoke with actor William Shatner, who played the original Star Trek Capt. James T. Kirk.
“We've gone from climbing a hill, getting in an airplane, to now actually being right on the cusp of permanently leaving our planet to everything else that exists. And I feel hugely connected to that,” Hadfield told Shatner in the interview available on YouTube. “I'm doing my absolute best to help people see that.”