Carlise Street, Balaclava, is a haven for coffee lovers near and far, with its bustling atmosphere and prime location. In between gym sessions, walking the staffy and going to work, the people of Balaclava never cease to take the time to squeeze in a cafe stop.
One of my favourite cafes to grab a chai latte is called Gattica. It has a very casual, relaxed atmosphere and it helps that it’s open 7 days for breakfast, lunch and dinner so I can always guarantee a coffee. On one recent Spring afternoon I took the opportunity to invite my friend down to Carlise Street because I hadn’t seen her in ages. I was so happy we finally got the chance to catch up but I couldn’t seem to get over the fact that she was distracted by her phone. As i sat there i was outraged that my friend took two phone calls, checked Facebook and replied to four text messages. She was far more engrossed in what the screen had to say than what I did. It seemed that social etiquette had long gone out the window and I was left feeling as though I was talking to myself. Rather than giving her full attention to the person who was sitting directly opposite her, she chose to give her attention to her screen that remained glued to her hand throughout the entirety of our attempt at conversation.
‘What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence, a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.’ (Herbert Simon 1971, 40–41)
I agree with Simon’s conclusion as this social environment of technology is jeopardising the reality of social settings such as the one i was rudely confronted by. From this point onwards i made a vow to myself that i would limit myself to an hour a day on the internet. I have been pleasantly surprised at my self-restraint and realised how free i truly am when I am not confined to the digital world.