We recently spent a week traveling in Iceland and I found myself doing something that I didn't think I would do on this trip - searching for WiFi whenever we stopped to eat. WiFi is remarkable available on this island where you often feel like you've been transported back in time so it was easy to stay connected, but why was I so compelled to do it?
Social media hasn't just changed the way we communicate and connect - it has fundamentally changed our social behavior. It worries me a bit because I feel like we are sacrificing the moment and losing an opportunity to connect with the people sitting across the table while we check Facebook, upload pictures, comment and respond to email.
I also noticed that coffee shops and informal gathering places were everywhere and they were full of people sitting in close proximity to each other while they busily typed away on their phones or computers. It seems odd that people are gathering to communicate with people that are only connected through technology, but it happens everywhere.
I've noticed at least one exception to this "gathering to connect remotely" phenomena - bars. While you see the occasional grab of the cell phone, for the most part people are engaged with the people they are physically with.
My humble opinion is that gathering places are more important than ever. Different people use them in different ways, but there's no doubt they are a vital component for a healthy community. This was one of the many reasons we decided to add a wine bar at K.Hollis Jewelers - we hope to become a rather unique gathering place where people can relax, connect, network, shop, and host special events. Only time will tell - we don't know of any other jewelry stores that have done this so it's bit of an experiment, but we've already hosted several events and spent enjoyable time getting to know new friends at the bar.
So far so good.