The other day I met a few new people in the bar. Most of them were younger than me, but not all of them had IT-related jobs and hobbies. While we were exchanging contact information, I kept thinking about the technology and how it affects our lives.
15 years ago, when meeting new people name and place of work or address were sufficient. People were asking for a phone number, but not everyone had it. Contacting a person was complicated. Espeically if he didn’t have the phone number (like I). Even if he had a phone number, one had to find out the appropriate hours to call.
10 years ago phones became more widespread. But email was still a new thing for most people. Not everyone had it.
5 years ago mobiles started to jump in. Approrpiate hours became pretty much obsolete – call during the daylight of the timezone in question and you’ll be fine. Email got more common. Instant messengers became popular too.
This year I met a lot of new people. And, although, most of them were from my area, I had a choice of mobile phone, email, and ICQ number to choose from in order to contact them.
That other day though was a totally other story. Everyone called each other on the mobile to save the number. Than we continued with ICQ numbers. Than with blog URLs (many people use LiveJournal these days). A notebook computer appeared out of nowhere and we connected to pub’s free WiFi access point and looked through each other’s blogs and journals. Within 15 minutes or so everyone know a whole lot of everything about each other – hobbies, interests, age, lifestyle, who travelled where and when, etc. We saw a bunch of pictures and even some common friends, although we were from different parts of the world.
When we left from the pub two hours later, I had a feeling that we knew each other pretty good. Missing bits could be easily reconstructed by studing all the available information. Or talking on the Internet. Directly. Any time.
It doesn’t matter anymore where you live. All you need to have is a mobile phone (which supports SMS), instant messenger account (ICQ, MSN, Yahoo! – whatever works for you), and an online journal (standalone blog or LiveJournal or both). Interestingly, it’ll take you less than an hour to get all three. The world is definetely getting smaller…