There have been some recent days where I have been able to sit and observe people in coffeeshops in a few areas. The use of mobile in these spaces in revealing to the extent of seeing measures of comfort or discomfort with mobile. Here are a few things I noticed recently:
- A conversation in one coffeeshop turned into an Android advertisement because of the flexibility of the platform, and the ease of use the owner felt compared to other platforms.
- Another person in the same conversation noted they were steadfastly against smartphones not because of their ability, but because the ability was perceived as complex and expensive (the person was in their early 20s).
- A group of men who were talking with each other maintained a conversation while each of them were fully concentrated on their BlackBerry devices. One was playing a game, another watching, a video, and another on an SMS conversation. They managed to keep interest in one another, laughing loudly in moments for the conversation they were keeping,
- A person near me sat down with their iPad and proceeded to pull out their mobile to read for a number of minutes before going to the iPad. That person nearly immediately started swiping and typing.
- Nearly every laptop and netbook owner perched near a power outlet. While I can understand that, it seems defeating to be that reliant on power for a “mobile” office. The person with the netbook most surprised me here. There was one who didn’t plug in in a room of about 10 laptop users.
- In one setting, two people taking brokered points of their conversation with paper pads and an iPad.
Seems like simple moments, but each speaks to different kinds of interactions to while mobility has relevance. In these spaces, there might be an intersection of faith that happens. Of those coffeeshops, many of them had persons with a bible nearby the laptop or mobile device.
And at the same time, they are private moments (of varying degrees) in public space. A marketplace of mobile activities. Snapshots of one type of living, where mobile plays a part in the mosaic.