Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How Cool and Amazing is the Internet

A lot of what is said about the internet has sounded like hype.  No so to me anymore.  Not recently.  Here are two cases in point that seem to confirm what media people say about the internet being akin the harnessing of electricity in the effect it is having on the world. 

 Just yesterday, while researching my next book, I googled a question that had stumped me: In what month do the coffee trees bloom in Kenya?  The first page to come up on the search engine offered no answer to my question.  All it gave me was coffee-of-the-month club companies and sellers of gift baskets containing coffee.  Below those, it listed the websites of various other marketers who thought my question meant I wanted to purchase a 2014 calendar or to book a hotel in Nairobi or to send a bouquet to my Aunt Myrtle.

But then there on page two was this:

I figured a commodities dealer in Kenya would know the answer to my question.  “Contact us” got me an email address so I sent this:  

On Tue, Oct 9, 2012 at 9:44 AM, Patricia wrote:
Mr. Moledina, I write fiction and am working on a book set in Kenya.  Can you tell me what time of year the coffee plants bloom in Kenya?  I would appreciate knowing to make my story authentic.  Thank you, Annamaria Alfieri

Look at the time on my request and the time on this response:

From: Mohamed Moledina
Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2012 11:07 AM
To: Patricia
Subject: Re: A quick question

There are 2 flowerings in each season, the first after the long rains in March or April and the second and smaller flowering comes with the short rains in October or November. Hope this is helpful.

Good luck,
Mohamed Moledina

p.s. Let me know the title of the book when it is published as would be interested in reading it.
When I thanked Mr. Moledina for his trouble, he told me this:
Hi Patricia:

I am glad the information provided was helpful. And, yes, you may use my name in your blog.

Best wishes,
Mohamed Moledina

p.s. My son, Jamil Moledina has written his first science fiction novel, "Tearing the Sky". I am copying him on this e-mail. Perhaps, you can share your success experience with him to promote his book too?

What else would I do; I googled Jamil’s book.    Jamil is actually ahead of me.  He has a book promo on YouTube!  If you are into SciFi you should check out his book.  The YouTube is worth a look even if you are not. It’s like the trailer for a new episode of Star Wars.

Okay, you say, but this one connection does not confirm all the hype about the internet transforming society.  
Here is another proof:
I am friends on Facebook with two young teenage girls.  One lives in Hollywood, is the daughter of a very successful screenwriter and the granddaughter of a woman who has a PhD in classical languages.  This fourteen year old goes to the Lycee Internationale de Los Angeles.  Her Facebook page says she is married, but that is patently not true.  The other girl is close in age to the first, lives in a hill town in Sicily, is the daughter of a housewife and a blue-collar worker, and the granddaughter of a housewife and a blue-collar worker.  Her Facebook page says she studies philosophy at the University of Oxford. The truth is she goes the local public school in her obscure Sicilian town. Clearly they are both telling fibs on Facebook.
These two girls do not know each other, have no connection on Facebook with one another.  I am undoubtedly that only person in the universe who has met both of them.  YET, a few weeks ago, within less than an hour of each other, they posted the very same picture of a fashion item on their Facebook pages.  It could be just synchronicity.  It looks like a whole more than that to me.  I think it means that all the high and mighty talk that the internet is making us a global village might actually be true.
Annamaria Alfieri


  1. What was the fashion item? Clearly it's the next big thing.

  2. Kate, given your penchant for footwear, you will be happy to know it was a pair of Buberry boots.

  3. What did we ever do before Google!

  4. Susan, I still own the twenty-something reference books--The Oxford Companion, Atlantic Brief Lives, Maltin's book on movies, etc. etc. etc.--that have been on my living room bookshelves for decades. We used to run to them when the dinner table conversation required information that we could not remember or did not know. We were not always successful in finding what we were looking for. Now we grab an iPad and voila! Old-fashioned book lover that I am, I am glad of it.