Of all the facts I heard about the recent anniversary of the moon landing, two really captured my imagination.

The first – that Buzz Aldrin’s mother’s maiden name was Moon - just goes to show that nominative determinism is alive and well.

The second - that there is more computing power in the tech in our pocket than there was in Apollo 11 - got me thinking about how different the moon landing might have been had it happened following the advent of today’s smart phones.

“Hold still Buzz, I need to get a decent selfie for Insta before we open the doors.”

“Neil, could you just say that ‘One small step’ line again, but make it more awestruck.”

Joking aside, what really struck me was that we think it’s our social networks that have made the world a smaller place, connecting us to people around the world with an immediacy that hadn’t even been conceived of 50 years ago. Global news stories break on Twitter; we follow them second-by-second on our phones; we share footage of events as they happen; more often than not, we’re one step ahead of the news channels. We struggle to imagine how we knew what was going on before we had phones.

But the moon landings are proof that that’s not necessarily true. Those first few steps captured the imagination of a generation. Around the world people were glued to their televisions and newspapers in every country told the story of the men on the moon. And all that without a phone in sight.

So, I suggest that maybe it’s not social media itself that brings the world together. It’s the power of a good story.

Verity Barr headshot
Verity Barr is a senior consultant at Camargue.

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