What the totality can teach us about the digital industrial complex. 

As community events go, the totality of the eclipse eclipsed more than the sun. It is estimated that more than 30 million people within the path of totality tuned into the sky. Many more, perhaps in the millions, traveled for hours to glimpse the phenomenon, driving in cars, riding in buses, flying in specially chartered aircraft, even ships at sea took to the skies. It was an event that moved millions of us to action. 

Today, images of the eclipse were streamed, posted and shared all across the globe to be seen by countless millions more. A truly stellar experience for the world. 

We shared something special on April 8, something bigger than all of us, something that brought us together with excitement and awe and a lingering sense of our tiny existence. 

Back in the heyday of TV, programs like All in The Family, one of the most popular shows in TV history, averaged 120 million viewers a week. Beyond the once yearly Super Bowl or other super sporting events, those kinds of viewership numbers are a distant and unimaginable achievement in the world formerly known as TV. This past Super Bowl 123.4 million of us tuned into the the game. As communal events go, those number would please Archie Bunker himself. Imagine achieving those numbers weekly? 

On any given day over 2 billion people use Facebook. 2 billion people a day is an incomprehensible number of people, millions of us carved up into chunks of user data, cohorts of likes, interests, associations, networks… yet nothing of the experience suggests even remotely the sense of community we experienced today.  

What the solar eclipse gave us today was each other. Nature is an amazing teacher.