A curious thing has happened to the coffee shop – whether it be Starbucks, Tim Hortons (if american insert Dunkin Donuts) or a local place like Planet Coffee in Ottawa.
The shift in social has been amazing, on a couple of levels. The fact that some of these places (like Starbucks) that have their own apps and/or are piggybacking on outside technology (like passbook from Apple) is astounding. On top of the fact that they offer free wi-fi. Free, of course, being relative to the fact that you tend to be making a purchase. But those are the shifts in offerings that coffee shops have to present to play level with others’ offering the same product (whom are offering free wi-fi as well).
This presents coffee shops with the other social change – the systematic overall haul of what it means to be social in a coffee shop.
At one point in time they were the location people gravitated to be social – as in having a face-to-face conversation. More and more people are forgoing the arduous task of verbally communicating and letting their fingers converse with the fingers of others. Soon maybe the apps will even allow us to order our drinks before we arrive – again saving us from certain eye contact.
Social media, as I and myriad others have spouted about, is a lot of good, interesting things. But it can’t replace real conversation. Because real conversations are where we see and feel the words – which give the message it’s context. Because without context, is communicating social at all?