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3 Jun 2010

The Internets

Picture for: The Internets

I went to a local coffee shop for lunch today. After ordering my "usual", a large vanilla latte, I opened my laptop to check in on the latest from the Gulf Coast incident and other happenings around the world. About five minutes into reading more of the same, seemingly action-less response from BP and their entities, my eye caught a gal sitting in front of me doing the same thing I was.

I like to people-watch. I don't do it to spy on them or for voyeuristic purposes, I do it because it fascinates me. It fascinates me to see how people interact with their surroundings. What they do, why and how they do it. I often catch myself at, for example, a sporting event and I spend more time watching the crowd than I do the actual game.

Back to the story. I was watching this mid-20's gal, who we will call Sally, surf the web and it got me thinking about how each of us interact with the internet. When we go online, which isn't usually more than an arms length away with today's gadgets and technology, it's usually a personal experience. What I mean by that is that when I go online, I decide what I am going to research or look at. Rarely do you ever surf the web with another person telling you where to go or what to click on. Using the internet is far different from using a television set. With TV's, it usually involves more than one person. Even though there are a ba-jillion websites and a ba-jillion TV channels, we find it more acceptable to go online alone. If someone was standing over your shoulder while you were reading CNN.com, you would probably question them, whereas that same person is "allowed" to sit next to you on the couch and watch CNN for hours on the boob-toob.

We all have our "set" of websites that we visit on a daily basis. Be it news, mail, personal blogs or social networking sites; they are our individual "rituals". When I wake up, mine usually is in this order - gMail, Google Calendar, CNN, BBC, Facebook, Veerle's Blog, and finally Stereogum if I have time.

I just found it interesting watching Sally do her thing. She didn't seem to be looking for anything in-particular, yet she also wasn't just randomly surfing the web either. She was just in the middle of her afternoon online ritual.

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