Archive for April 13th, 2012

Warping space and time

Friday, April 13th, 2012 by Roberto Saracco

Today is quite like yesterday and tomorrow is going to be like today. But if you take a step back and observe a longer time span you realize the changes going on and how they are affecting everyday life. Well, these changes used to take longer time in the past to take effect than what they take nowadays.

You surely have seen plenty of diagrams, like the one on the side, showing the time it took to an innovation to become mainstream (to reach a certain percentage of the world population – or population in a specific region).

It is easy to see that as we look at more recent innovation the penetration pace increases significantly. Whereas, as shown in the graphic, the cell phone took less than 10 years to reach 25% of the  US population the telephone took over 30 years.

It is like there is a warp in time that is progressively making every day count more (more is happening within that day that it used to happen fifty or hundreds years ago).  There is also warp in space in the sense that the world, at least certain areas (and more of them as times goes by) is getting smaller, innovation flows easily from one point to the other, what becomes fancy in the US may become fancy in Japan within weeks and so on.

If we look at the world in this way we get quite a different image than the one we are used to see on a map (take a look at Worldmap to see what I mean).

These thoughts have been stimulated by the news that Pinterest has now become the third largest social network in terms of unique contacts in the US after Facebook and Twitter. And this has happened  in  just 3 years!

As soon as we believe there is something that has conquered the world and blocked all potential newcomers, an underdog comes up to the fore and in the blink of an eye gets millions of followers. There is really a warping in space and time, and that is because of communications that has killed distances and made instantaneous reactions possible.