So I’m here in Paris, tonight at a mini Bar Camp meetup â€” having a cappucino with emincÃ© de tomate et mozzarella, and there’s about 15 of us here. Presumably we’re going to talk about the Bar Camp Paris event coming up in the spring at some point but for now, we’re happily eating, drinking and… geeking out.
And in that, there’s something interesting â€” something changing. I’m going to call it “San Fransocialing” or “being San Franciscosocial”.
Basically it’s something that a lot of us do already, but seems particularly accepted, or native at least, within the original San Fran crew. So you show up somewhere where there are other people you’re going to “meet” and when you arrive, out come the laptops. What follows has to be something of an evolution in social behavior: instead of the old chat, look at each other in the eye, sip, drink, speak, listen, respond and on and on, you have these myriad verbal, non-verbal and digital communication methods happening simultaneously, spontaneously and asynchronously.
Consider this: here I am in this cafe-slash-bar-slash-restaurant and I’ve got Skype, Adium, Colloquy, Thunderbird, Flock with Gmail, Plazes all running at the same time over the free wifi… all on in order to keep in touch and communicate with the people in my life. Meanwhile, I’m having conversations in real time, in person, with as many as four or five people at a time. This is normal for me. This is … usual. This isn’t even overload. Somehow, I can handle all this simultaneous stimulation. Must be the video games I played when I was younger. Yep, everything bad was good for me!
And one last closing note… while fluttery and not always as deep, the communication and conversations are nevertheless valid, important, real and essential. The quality is not dimished, but it is different. Ah, que sera, sera.