Beware when human meets Internet
Thursday, February 13th, 2003
Testing e-mail’s viral capacity, a ninth grader in Mississipi e-mailed 23 people on January 13 asking them to e-mail their location to her at email@example.com and to pass her message along to their friends. By February 5, the girl was getting 1000 e-mails every 29 minutes, one minute faster than she could download them. After Shannon mercy-killed her account, people tracked down her phone number and called to explain they couldn’t e-mail. Her total: 160,478 e-mails from 189 countries and 50 states. (WSJ password protected.)
We’re still absorbing the Internet’s true human scale. The world’s most trafficked tourist attraction, the Eiffel Tower, sells 2 tons of tickets a year. But its total traffic since 1889, 204 million people, is probably less than Google gets in a week.