Thursday, September 11, 2014

Social Media

Alone together. People doing social media at a café in Colorado Springs.

The Guardian: "Vermont cafe finds a ban on laptops and tablets earns better business"


Dan said...

"Social Media" or "Antisocial Media"? :)

Seriously, though, we used to go to cafes in downtown Minneapolis in the early '90s and actually meet people--sometimes very interesting people. A few weeks ago I was thinking about this phenomenon, and I was all alone, so I decided to go to a well-known, locally-owned cafe where I live. They are even a micro-roaster, so they have fantastic coffee.

I went on a Friday night. I live in a college town, so you'd think a trendy local cafe would be interesting on a Friday night. There was even live music. Alas, everybody there had their eyes glued to a screen, literally everybody except the guy playing guitar. Occasionally he would finish a song, and there would be a smattering of absentminded polite applause, which came from people still staring at their screens, off in some virtual world somewhere, but still trying to remember their manners.

There was one table nearby with two people sitting at it, both of them with notebook computers, both staring at screens, each seemingly unaware of the other's presence.

"Interactive" indeed! :)

I thought: "We live in interesting times, but somehow less interesting than before the 'revolution.'"

Hayao Miyazaki recently raised the ire of fellow Japanese animators by saying that the anime industry is full of artists who can't stand to look at the human body. They draw from other anime, not from life, and therefore they can't draw a believable figure.

Looking at current trends, it's somewhat conceivable that future generations will outright fear and/or dislike direct human interaction. Social media feels "safe" in a world characterized by much social uncertainty.

My son and I go to the mall, and he likes to walk down the corridor counting people who are staring at their smart phones while walking.

If people can't even be troubled to pay attention to their surroundings while walking through the mall, maybe it's time for a new "revolution."

Sorry to rant; your picture was thought-provoking.


jeff jordan said...

I keep wanting to do a painting of Cell Phone/Device Zombies, but it's already too late.
I see people crossing streets texting or whatever, walking into things, not paying attention to their surroundings. Must be a new way to eliminate the culls.

I have no patience with people who choose technology over interaction. An old friend pulled up on the street a few months ago--hadn't seen him for a few years. We got to talking, then his cellphone rang, maybe 30 seconds into our conversation, and he took the call. I turned about and walked off, amazed I didn't flip him the bird.

I heard through a mutual friend that he understood what he'd done and was VERY sorry.

Computers and the Internet were supposed to make people smarter, I thought. Instead it seems to give a lot of peeps permission to be STUPID.

lee kline said...

Am I a curmudgeon? My P.O. meter goes quite high when I go into a coffee shop and a lone "customer" working his or her laptop is sitting at a table with four chairs. There is not even a coffee cup on the table, but body language tells me that what he is working on is of top importance. Grrrrrr. But now, I have an idea. I will take a place near that person and draw him or her. Heh heh.

Dan said...

I'd love to see a laptop-free, or better yet essentially screen-free cafe in my area. We'd go all the time.

It's not that I'm upset about people taking up space with their computers, so much as with the environment it creates. I can drink good coffee at home. I go out to a cafe and pay extra because it's a public place, a place to be around other people who are socializing with one another, perhaps with music and art in the vicinity. The other tables shouldn't feel like office cubicles.

In this day and age it's probably harder than ever before to have meaningful interactions with strangers, but a good starting place would be if the people around you were actually aware of the environment that you're sharing with them.

Connie Nobbe said...

I'm visiting Burlington right now for a plein air painting workshop. I should pop in to that cafe and congratulate them for bucking the norm. I've been to restaurants with free Wi-Fi and walked around with my tray looking for a place to eat my food, but many tables were taken by people on their laptops with no food in front of them, and I had to stand around with my food tray, waiting for a table to free up.

TommyD said...

Nice sketch Jim - very loose and great touch with the medium.

Unknown said...

Ah! You were in my neck o' the woods!