Not that many years ago the internet was “out there” but not an everyday part of people’s lives. It’s sometimes difficult to remember what that was like, but every now and then I am reminded of the power this phenomena brings to all of us.
It used to be that as a salesperson it was incredibly difficult to find the names of people to call in different companies.
If you wanted to track down an old friend the only way to do was to reach out to your known network and see who might have kept in touch.
If you were doing genealogical research you might go to the various major sources such as National Archives or the Church of Latter Day Saints and use their microfiche systems (do Millenials even know what microfiche is?).
Today we have a plethora of tools available to us, that help us to track down everyone from sales leads to ancestors!
We can use social networking tools like Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn to find people that we might have known in a past life, or even to get names of people at target clients.
We can use genealogical tools online to track down our ancestors but also different branches of long lost aunts, cousins etc who might be doing exactly the same kind of research. There are a ton of site including federal government sites, “for profit” sites like Genealogy.com and the Church of Latter Day Saints have a huge investment in technology that they make available for this kind of research.
Of course there is the ever popular search engines like Google that can also track down information that would just not have been possible a few years ago.
So … what prompted this? In my recent visit to the UK I had dinner with an old friend from my Royal Navy days, and I left the navy 30 years ago! He Googled me and we exchanged a few emails just before my trip, so we decided to have dinner. It was a lot of fun revisiting some of our old memories and catching up on two lives that took separate course. I can’t imagine how that would have happened without the internet.
Of course now I just have to hope nobody Googles me who I owe money to!