Living in a viral age: Hello Germany


airplane-paper-2648958_640When I was a kid, I would take out a piece of composition paper from one of my school notebooks and fold it into an airplane. I would be especially careful to keep the folds crisp, like I had steamed them with a hot iron. I would repeat this process, making a hangar-full of planes, coloring and designing them with lightening bolts and flags.

When I was finally ready, I would run to our small porch and have competitions to see which plane would fly the farthest. I would heave each plane as far forward in the air as I could. Most attempts would start off strong and then spiral out of control into a nosedive. When I was really lucky, a plane would hit a little bit of a breeze, build-up even more speed, and take off down the hill and land in my neighbor’s pasture.

The miracle of flight

It’s no surprise then that I fell in love with flying. Close friends who travel frequently for their jobs like to tell me how you get sick of the expensive airport food and the hustle and bustle of being constantly on the go. I’m not sure I buy their stories. Oh, I would probably sing a different tune if I had to be away from my family days-on-end, but I love everything about flight, everything from “the hassle” for them, excitement for me, of hurrying-up-and-waiting to board to the moment when the plane first lifts off the ground, when you take a big gulp of air and you’re not sure if you should swallow or let it out in one big rush.

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When it comes to planes, I’m still very much a kid at heart. I love looking out the small airplane window and imagining jumping up and down on the fluffy white clouds. Yes, like most people I love too the moment when the plane touches down on the ground. I even love the time difference, how you start out at 2 p.m. in one spot and end up ahead or behind in a completely different one.

Traveling at the speed of light

airport-2373727_640It’s been a few years since I’ve last flown, but I’ve been thinking about the speed of travel in a new light. In particular, I’ve found myself amazed recently by the speed of the Web. Oh as a communications professional, I’m well aware of how viral our society has become, but it’s still amazing to take a step back and see it in action.

We see things travel across the web all the time. A disaster happens in one area, you have footage instantaneously in another. Someone hacks into the Game of Thrones series and sends out a few scenes to the “twitter verse” and the scenes are shared and viewed by millions in a few hours.

It’s not just bad news, it’s the offbeat too. Tell me you haven’t watched a video with a cute kid or dog or cat over the the past six months. The internet has a way of touching us all, no matter where we live, work or play.

Touching my world

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Some of what we come across is frivolous and a waste of our time, but then you have moments where it touches you in ways that you never would have expected. I’ve seen it too in my own little world. I noticed last week that my little blog started getting a surprising number of hits from Germany. While nothing big in the grand scheme of things, the numbers were still surprising for my blog since I previously had a smattering of hits from all of Europe, let alone Germany.

In fact, I’ve never stepped foot there, have no friends there, haven’t even mentioned the country in my blog. But yet, I watched throughout the day as I started to get hit after hit. They seemed to build on each other.

The thought crossed my mind: I’m big in Germany. Who knew?

Back to Earth, Brian!

berlin-1826557_640The next day, of course, my hit totals fell like an anchor glued to the bottom of the ocean. Crickets chirping made more noise that day than my blog.

Companies spend millions of dollars on research and development to track why customers open the emails they do and view certain pages on the web. I joked with my wife that I need to work on my Germany research and come up with a new marketing plan.

I suspect I’ll never know what drew the interest. I’m sure it was pure accident, but it’s still been fun to track my hit counts. Heck I get excited when my immediate family reads my blog. (Can I be anymore pathetic?) To see an unexpected rush of readers from somewhere I’ve never even visited, well that’s like getting on an airplane and a few hours later, touching down in a new and exciting country.

Count me in!

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