Steven's Notebook

Look Ma - No Hands!

Coffee, the Net, and (not or) People

NY Times: Some Cafe Owners Pull the Plug on Lingering Wi-Fi Users.

Ms. Strongin and her staff said they were more concerned that the cafe, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, had turned into a place devoid of sound except the light clack of keys, not the focus of lively interaction that she and her husband, Chris Sharp, had intended.

That is unfortunate. I’d guess that there’s more to blame than just Wi-Fi, though perhaps that particular clientele (people who wanted to get work done or “surf” the net more than they wanted to talk) were attracted because of the Wi-Fi. I’ve been to places like College Perk that have Wi-Fi but also appeared to have their own thriving, sometimes quite verbal, culture. As Brennan put it, “we don’t lack for conversation even though laptops sprout like grass.”

[and yes, that assumes that the list of regular patrons changed to a more reclusive set when Wi-Fi was installed and changed again when it was removed. if, instead, the same people allowed themselves to be lost in the web rather than conversing with their fellow caffiene-imbibers, then I guess this whole post looses it’s meaning.]

What’s the key to drawing people who want a social experience along with their caffiene and email?

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