Living n an increasingly connected world

I recently was pointed over to this whitepaper by a coworker, and I found it quite interesting. A couple things: First, that datacenter design mentioned in the whitepaper is very cool. Literally, cool. Heh. I’m not above making those jokes.

Secondly…Well, I’ll let the paper speak for itself.

These efficiencies and innovations are necessary at Facebook’s scale. Every day,
there are more than 4.75 billion content items shared on Facebook (including
status updates, wall posts, photos, videos and comments), more than 4.5 billion
“Likes,” and more than 10 billion messages sent. More than 250 billion photos have
been uploaded to Facebook, and more than 350 million photos are uploaded every
day on average…

Big numbers. 10 BILLION messages sent over Facebook a day? 350 million photos? That’s an insane amount of stuff, at least at first glance. Thinking about it a little more, though, it makes a lot of sense.

We’re living in an increasingly connected world. It’s not just that people are plugged in (at least in developed countries) nearly 24 hours a day. I mean, it’s cool that I can roll over and check my email on my tablet at 4 am if I really want to, but that’s not the point. It’s not just connections to the Internet – it’s connections to other people. People across the continent – or across oceans – or on the opposite side of the world. Just this last weekend, I was watching DreamHack Bucharest. Romania’s a long way away, but that didn’t even matter. I was talking with people from all over the world that were watching at the same time as me!

It’s this kind of “connected” that I want to talk about a little bit today. Over the last couple of decades, it’s become increasingly more common to develop relationships with people living a long way away – whether those relationships be friendships, romantic relationships, or even just professional contacts. Heck, I met people over LinkedIn while I was hunting for jobs in Buffalo and Toronto, even though I was still living in western Montana at the time!

Humans are, in general, fairly social animals. Once we build those connections, we naturally want to maintain them. It’s this tendency that’s led to the numbers I pointed out above. After I thought about this, suddenly 350 million photos didn’t seem like all that many – photos are a great way for people who don’t live near each other to stay connected and updated. They let you actually see what’s going on. That’s huge – and something that wasn’t all that common a few decades ago. Sure, you could send photos via snailmail, but it took longer, it wasn’t as easy to keep everyone updated…now, with a click of a button, you can show everyone what you’re doing. It’s really amazing how far we’ve come.

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