People keep saying that the Internet has changed our lives, but many of us don’t think much about that as we go about our lives. It is only when something dramatic happens–like the wildfires racing through Southern California–that we realize how differently we experience events now. In years past we grew accustomed to television coverage of major fires, but watching an event on TV is different from listening to someone on a small video on your computer talking about his experiences. We can watch and listen and send the video link to friends in the East or around the world who don’t understand how involved everyone in California feels. And for other distant friends who think San Francisco is likely to be lapped by flames any day now, we can send an interactive map of exactly where the fires are. As volunteers rush to the scene to help displaced people, we all somehow feel part of a community, brought together, not separated by technology.
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