The web site with the most traffic in 2010 was Facebook with the number of subscribers in 2000 at zero and in 2010 it was 116 million. Social media now includes many sites like Twitter, Linked-In, MySpace, Google+, Ning, and numerous others. Rather than replacing embodied connections between real people, our devices supplemented and extended them, an electromagnetic nervous system to match the physical infrastructure of transport built in the twentieth century, a network of connections, intersections, and switches. The big difference, of course, is speed. An email can travel 10,200 miles in less than .2 of a second, .012 to be precise. That’s equivalent to 85,000 Miles per second, 5.1 million miles per minute or 306 million miles per hour!
Oddly enough, after a decade of wild growth in invisible telecommunications, where one lived and worked mattered more in 2010 than it did in 2000. Travel and transport remained basically flat throughout the decade. Total vehicle miles driven, while an impressive 3 billion miles in 2010, were only up from 2.7 billion miles in 2000, a period during which the population increased from 288 to 318 million—meaning the average American drove less in 2010 than in 2000. However, for me that was not true as for the past seven years I have lived 110 miles from the airport and needed to fly frequently for work. I drove many more miles in the past 10 years than in the previous decade. For me personally, at this stage in my life, highway and byway travel is much to be preferred over air travel these days as many others who are frequent flyers can also attest. Air travel in many instances is cumbersome, crowded, uncomfortable and fraught with lines, an inept TSA, and unhealthy, re-circulated air in the steel cocoon aloft.