Six Degrees of SeparatiOM
August 3, 2011
New York, his 13th and Final State!
August 8, 2011

In the time it takes to read this short sentence, around 20 million emails will enter cyberspace.
More than 247 billion are expected to be sent today, or if you prefer, one every 0.00000035 seconds.
That the planet has never known a communicative tool quite like the internet is beyond question. From all corners of the planet, 1.4 billion people are using their computers to connect.
These figures are extraordinary, but so too is the extent to which we take the power of the PC for granted these days. It shouldn’t be the case, as we intend to demonstrate.
Each second of each day, messages equivalent in size to more than 16,000 copies of Shakespeare’s complete works are produced, and that’s just email.
Factor in Twitter, Facebook and the myriad instant messaging applications and it is clear the globe has never before been such a compact place.
To reference a favourite scientific research project of ours, the Small World Phenomenon has never been quite this pronounced. In other words: We are all connected.
Not quite all of us of course – not in online terms, at least, but just about, almost, more than ever before. It’s something we can prove, as some quite startling figures bear out our assertion.
Here in Saunderstown, we’re suckers for a big number. Don’t believe us? Check out our mission statement, our aim to make 100,000,000 OMs and distribute them across the planet.
There are some other sizeable digits we’d like you to consider for a moment, digits that highlight our point: that the internet has become the greatest connective tool the world has ever known.
Take this for example. Latest figures estimate the global population to be 6,930,055,154.  Of that population, 2,095,006,005, or a shade over 30%, are internet users.
Ten years ago, there were just 360,985,492 internet users on our planet, the increase during the subsequent decade 480%.
That usage continues to increase apace suggests this is just the start.
Nowhere on Earth is internet use as commonplace as right here in North America, where 272,066,000 are online regulars. That’s more than 78% of our entire population.
Nowhere on Earth is internet use growing as fast as in Africa, where the latest data shows 118,609,620 users. That’s an increase of 2527.4% over the last 10 years.
In 2009, some 90 trillion emails were sent.
The figures for 2010 are not yet available, we assume because somewhere, someone is still counting. The final figure matters not, it’ll be huge.
If email was a country, it’d be the biggest on Earth – it’s population greater than that of China, greater than that of the United States and all the nations of the European Union combined.
Our heads are starting to spin!
You know, we could sit here and dazzle you with numbers all day, but there’s no need.
Our point has been made.
Connection comes in all forms: spiritual, genealogical, technical, you name it.  Here in Saunderstown, we’re interested in them all.
From Tallahassee to Timbuktu, from Brisbane to Bangkok, and from Saunderstown to Saint Petersburg, everyone’s doing it, this thing that ties us all together, this thing that connects us.
Think about all those people just a mouse click away.  Think about the Small World Phenomenon, the project that led to the Six Degrees of Separation, aka the Human Spider Web.
Think about the World Wide Web and how we’re all bound up in it.
Think about connection.  Think numbers.  Respect it.  Take nothing for granted.
In closing, we’d like to go back to the big numbers for just a moment.
You see, in the five minutes or so that we assume you’ve spent reading this blog, around 857,142,857 emails have been sent from one place or another.
The content that is contained in these messages is equivalent in size, if we can use our favourite playwright again, to Shakespeare’s complete works 4,800,000 times over.
The same amount will be sent in the next five minutes and the five minutes after that, the five minutes after that and that and that and so on and so forth.
That’s the power.
If you’d like to learn more about the internet, email and the connective forces that drive it, sign up for OMmail, our new-look electronic newsletter, delivered direct to your inbox once a month.

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